BY JAMES HARPER
Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Ann McFall has come under fire from the state’s Division of Elections for mailing out incorrect information to prospective new registered voters.
Maureen Durham, a Volusia County third-party registrant contacted Maria Matthews, chief of the Bureau of Voter Registration Services, Florida Division of Elections, about a letter a member of her church received from McFall’s office.
“How many people has she (McFall) discouraged with this false information?” asked Durham, who also is campaign manager for Daytona Beach mayoral candidate Derrick Henry.
Durham told the Daytona Times on Wednesday that she was planning to send a letter Thursday to McFall, also signed by Henry, a third-party- agent for voter registration.
“The letter remands immediate rescinding of the incorrect requirement, and a retroactive search of all new voters who may have received the same letter, to correct the error in writing,” she told the Times.
In an email obtained by the Daytona Times, Matthews said she spoke with a member of McFall’s staff, Delynda Russell.
“This matter was brought to our attention by a third-party voter registration organization. Ms. Maureen Durham faxed the documents to me,” Matthews told McFall in an email.
“Delynda was going to update you (McFall) on the matter and alert you to the misstatements in the notice that was sent out to this particular registrant and possibly others about identification requirements. This is what we discussed and she understood and agreed. We also agreed that the notice does not properly state the law. There has been no new law changing the requirements for identification,” Matthews wrote.
No ID needed when registering by mail
Matthews said current law states “no one has to submit a copy of a photo ID with an application form when registering by mail. The law only requires a driver’s license number or Social Security number for identification verification for registration purposes.”
McFall told the Daytona Times she has had no complaints about the matter.
In response to Matthews, McFall said, “Although the letter you mention is not written as I would have like to see and will be corrected, there are no ‘misstatements.’ ‘’
McFall said the information in the letter actually was meant for first time absentee ballot voters who already are registered to vote.
“You do indeed need to show an ID. There should have been a new paragraph explaining that fact,” McFall continued.
Marlene Brooks went to Durham with a copy of the letter she received from McFall, which said “a new law that recently took effect requires that you provide a copy of your photo ID when registering by mail, before you can be allowed to vote. So, please enclose a copy of one of the acceptable identifications.”
Also in the letter sent to Brooks was told her application was not processed because she did not check the “not felon box” and the “No mental incompetency box.’’
“As a third-party registrant, I have never been required to attach a copy of a voter’s ID,” said Durham, adding that all is required is an applicant’s Florida ID number or the last four digits of a Social Security number.
“This requirement (copy of ID) would make it virtually impossible for a third-party registrant to assist with the completion of voter registration forms,” explained Durham.
McFall said in an email to the Daytona Times, “It would have been nice if either the voter or Ms. Durham would have called the Department locally to get this issue clarified, if that was indeed their goal.”
Durham said she did call McFall’s office and spoke with Delynda Russell.
Durham said when she spoke with Russell, the elections office employee “was adamant about this requirement even though she was incorrect. I tried to explain it to her, without success.”
After not getting satisfaction from calling the local supervisor of elections office, Durham called Matthews, an attorney for the state of Florida in the voter registration department.
“I will be registering new voters, and I have been instructed by Attorney Jerry Holland of Tallahassee that I can mail the new forms to their office to ensure proper processing in time for the November election,” added Durham.
Upset about Henry
Durham said Matthews told her that Florida statute 97.053 Sub 5 “clearly states the circumstances under which a copy of an ID is required. In this instance, it is ‘not’ required.”
“There is no blanket law that requires a first-time voter registrant to provide a copy of his/her Florida ID,” declared Durham.
She also has taken issue that Henry was singled out by McFall’s office over absentee ballot request forms mailed to the elections office allegedly by Henry or some of his workers.
McFall has stopped a probe into absentee ballot request form irregularities related Henry after being contacted by the State Attorney’s office.