Letter to the Editor: Elections office: Number of voters is accurate

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Residents:

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Recently, Secretary of State Laurel Lee received a letter voicing concern with 34 counties and the accuracy of their voter registration rolls. It claimed a comparison of voter registration records with the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013- 2017 American Community Survey of Citizen, voting-age population, showed these counties registration rates were abnormally high.

It also specifically accused Clay County, and seven others, of having more registered voters than adult citizens.

The letter alleged that appropriate list maintenance, as required by law, had not been conducted, a violation of Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act. Florida Statute 98.065 outlines list maintenance activities, and details various procedures that Supervisors of Elections may take to perform list maintenance. Clay County chooses to conduct its list maintenance program every 90 days, far above the required minimum.

Our office utilizes change-of-address information from the U.S. Postal Service to identify registered voters who may have moved. Clay County also actively pursues information received through the Florida Voter Registration Statewide Database or other reporting agencies that provide details regarding a voter’s eligibility due to American citizenship, death, etc. Not only do we conduct regular, frequent list maintenance activities, we believe in being proactive and send out letters to our active military members and reminders to voters to update their signature.

Clay County reviewed the data from the United States Census Bureau website and the ACS Demographic and Housing estimates for the total population 18 and older.

In 2016 and 2018, a comparison of both registered voters each month and the total population over 18, clearly shows the number of registered voters in Clay County is far below the ACS Demographic estimate, never exceeding it. The data found in the 2018 ACS Citizen, Voting-age Population by Selected Characteristics reports an estimate of 162,596 total citizens, 18 and older. Once again, our monthly voter registration numbers for all of 2018, never exceeds 154,505 and is far below the ACS Citizen estimate. These numbers directly discredit the claim that Clay County has more registered voters than adult citizens and calls into question the accuracy of the sources used in the letter.

Scrutiny is nothing new to a Supervisor of Elections Office in the largest swing state, especially during election time. In Clay County, we understand how important it is to be dedicated to the process, year-round. It’s why we take every opportunity to keep voters informed and educated. We not only want to deliver fair and accurate elections but ensure Clay County voters can trust our efforts and cast their vote with confidence.

Chris Chambless

Supervisor of Clay County Elections

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