South Florida voters unlawfully denied ballots because of incorrect addresses

They are allowed to change their address at the polls.

A poll worker watches a polling place in Miami. CREDIT: Kira Lerner
A poll worker watches a polling place in Miami. CREDIT: Kira Lerner

Election Protection groups across Florida are reporting that voters in two counties are being turned away from the polls because the address on their ID does not match the address in the registration system — an issue that should not prevent anyone from casting a ballot.

Under Florida law, voters should be offered a form to change their address in the event that they have moved since they registered to vote. But representatives with the the national Election Protection network and the SEIU both said that poll workers in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties were instead telling people they could not vote.

“They’re legally required to be able to just fill out a form and vote, but instead they’re being turned away,” said Elizabeth Fernandez, communications director for SEIU Florida. “This is coming up again and again and again, so something is going on here.”

Carolyn Thompson, a voter protection advocate for the Advancement Project, said that some voters were being offered provisional ballots, but others may have grown frustrated and left without voting.


Thompson attributed the issue to poor poll worker training. “This is systemic. If Broward County can get their county workers to understand how to change a voter’s address… then so can Dade County,” she said.

“This is not new,” she continued. “This is something we met with the supervisor of elections about.”

A representative for Election Protection said that the Miami supervisor of elections was being responsive to the issue and that the office issued a memo to all poll workers alerting them that it should not be occurring.

SEIU was unable to provide an estimate of how many people could be affected, given that they don’t have people monitoring elections everywhere. Though the number of people affected might be small, Thompson said it is still important.

“Our level of scrutiny is higher than it’s ever been because the stakes are high,” she said. “Every vote counts. Even one voter that’s disenfranchised is a voice thats not heard.”