Provisional Ballot or No?
November 4, 2008 12:21 AM   Subscribe

Will I be able to vote in the Florida election tomorrow using an expired passport as Photo ID, or will I be stuck filling out a provisional ballot?

I don't have a current Florida driver's license (or anything else listed in their Photo ID requirements). I can't think of why a passport being expired would matter (it's a government-issued travel document, being expired doesn't disprove my identity).

Anyone know for sure?
posted by empyrean to Law & Government (7 answers total)
Best answer: Here's the Florida Polling Place Procedures Manual. The poll worker is instructed to "Ask the voter for a current and valid photo ID with signature." [emph. mine] (p. 6) I'd expect to have to fill out a provisional ballot. Also note, however, "... a person who votes a provisional ballot because he or she did not have the proper identification IS NOT required to present written evidence of his or her eligibility to the supervisor of elections. In such cases, the ballot shall be counted if the signature on the Provisional Ballot Voter’s Certificate and Affirmation matches the signature in the person’s voter registration record." (p. 13)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:08 AM on November 4, 2008

IANAPW, but I suspect the word "current" is there to indicate the photo more than the rest of the document. Make sure it looks like you.

Don't expect a problem. Go vote.
posted by cmiller at 3:52 AM on November 4, 2008

Current in this context generally means "unexpired", so yes, there is the potential for needing to fill out a provisional ballot. However, the poll workers are likely to be busy and may not be looking closely at the expiration date, so you may be fine. When I voted early in GA a few weeks ago it wasn't very busy but they still only gave my ID a cursory glance it seemed to me. The only way to know for sure is to try it and see.
posted by TedW at 4:27 AM on November 4, 2008

Response by poster: I just got back. I showed up with full expectations of having to cast a provisional ballot, but the clerk was loathe to process any more of them than necessary. After examining all forms of ID that I possessed, including my voter registration card and making me recite my address to a few people, I was given a regular ballot.

Very short lines at the local precinct at 8:30AM in Tallahassee, FL -- but not a surprise, considering the 4+ hour lines I saw the entire time early voting was open here. I imagine it'll be bedlam by the time my wife goes this afternoon.

If anyone reading this has any doubts at all about going to vote today -- JUST DO IT!
posted by empyrean at 5:56 AM on November 4, 2008 [3 favorites]

I'm shocked and appalled that they even asked for ID. Isn't that a tenant of Voter's Rights? No ID, No residency requirement? Just go vote? I know it is where I vote. Never once been asked for ID. In fact the old lady poll workers push it away when I offer it.
posted by Gungho at 9:09 AM on November 4, 2008

Gungho: Since 2002's poorly named "Help America Vote Act", it has been kosher (and in some circumstances, required) to require photo ID at the polls. Some states require it for all voters, all states require it for new voters.

This was sold to America as a way to reduce voter fraud. In truth, it's a way to suppress the votes of poor people (especially older poor people), who are statistically much less likely to have an "acceptable" current ID.

In practice, it's also a poll tax... since NONE of these identification cards are free.

The National Conference of State Legislatures has a great summary of state laws on this.
posted by toxic at 9:43 AM on November 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

That National Conference of State Legislatures site is a bit out of date, unfortunately. In particular, the requirements here in GA have been challenged, changed, and upheld constantly in the past couple of years. All the recent challenges have failed, but they did result in GA offering free voter IDs. The caveat is that they are only to be used for voting, and when a large number were issued in heavily Democratic Richmond county earlier this year the Republican Secretary of State launched an investigation citing concerns that they were being used for unapproved purposes such as cashing checks.
posted by TedW at 10:42 AM on November 4, 2008

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