2018 Florida Statutes
Secretary of State as chief election officer.
Secretary of State as chief election officer.
97.012 Secretary of State as chief election officer.—The Secretary of State is the chief election officer of the state, and it is his or her responsibility to:
(1) Obtain and maintain uniformity in the interpretation and implementation of the election laws. In order to obtain and maintain uniformity in the interpretation and implementation of the election laws, the Department of State may, pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54, adopt by rule uniform standards for the proper and equitable interpretation and implementation of the requirements of chapters 97 through 102 and 105 of the Election Code.
(2) Provide uniform standards for the proper and equitable implementation of the registration laws by administrative rule of the Department of State adopted pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54.
(3) Actively seek out and collect the data and statistics necessary to knowledgeably scrutinize the effectiveness of election laws.
(4) Provide technical assistance to the supervisors of elections on voter education and election personnel training services.
(5) Provide technical assistance to the supervisors of elections on voting systems.
(6) Provide voter education assistance to the public.
(7) Coordinate the state’s responsibilities under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
(8) Provide training to all affected state agencies on the necessary procedures for proper implementation of this chapter.
(9) Ensure that all registration applications and forms prescribed or approved by the department are in compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
(10) Coordinate with the United States Department of Defense so that armed forces recruitment offices administer voter registration in a manner consistent with the procedures set forth in this code for voter registration agencies.
(11) Create and administer a statewide voter registration system as required by the Help America Vote Act of 2002. The secretary may delegate voter registration duties and records maintenance activities to voter registration officials. Any responsibilities delegated by the secretary shall be performed in accordance with state and federal law.
(12) Maintain a voter fraud hotline and provide election fraud education to the public.
(13) Designate an office within the department to be responsible for providing information regarding voter registration procedures and vote-by-mail ballot procedures to absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters.
(14) Bring and maintain such actions at law or in equity by mandamus or injunction to enforce the performance of any duties of a county supervisor of elections or any official performing duties with respect to chapters 97 through 102 and 105 or to enforce compliance with a rule of the Department of State adopted to interpret or implement any of those chapters.
(a) Venue for such actions shall be in the Circuit Court of Leon County.
(b) When the secretary files an action under this section and not more than 60 days remain before an election as defined in s. 97.021, or during the time period after the election and before certification of the election pursuant to s. 102.112 or s. 102.121, the court, including an appellate court, shall set an immediate hearing, giving the case priority over other pending cases.
(c) Prior to filing an action to enforce performance of the duties of the supervisor of elections or any official described in this subsection, the secretary or his or her designee first must confer, or must make a good faith attempt to confer, with the supervisor of elections or the official to ensure compliance with chapters 97 through 102 and 105 or the rules of the Department of State adopted under any of those chapters.
(15) Conduct preliminary investigations into any irregularities or fraud involving voter registration, voting, candidate petition, or issue petition activities and report his or her findings to the statewide prosecutor or the state attorney for the judicial circuit in which the alleged violation occurred for prosecution, if warranted. The Department of State may prescribe by rule requirements for filing an elections-fraud complaint and for investigating any such complaint.
(16) Provide written direction and opinions to the supervisors of elections on the performance of their official duties with respect to the Florida Election Code or rules adopted by the Department of State.
History.—s. 1, ch. 75-98; s. 21, ch. 84-302; s. 2, ch. 89-348; s. 1, ch. 90-315; s. 2, ch. 94-224; s. 1381, ch. 95-147; s. 34, ch. 97-13; s. 1, ch. 98-129; s. 1, ch. 2003-415; s. 1, ch. 2005-277; s. 1, ch. 2005-278; s. 1, ch. 2008-95; s. 1, ch. 2011-40; s. 1, ch. 2016-37.