POLL: FLORIDIANS DON'T WANT TO RELEASE VOTER ROLLS - Mitch Perry

06/25/04

According to a poll released yesterday, Florida voters overwhelmingly oppose the opening of voter-registration records.

CNN, U.S. Senator. Bill Nelson and many newspapers in the state have filed suit in Leon County Circuit Court , challenging the state law that forbids general release of a list of people who may be stricken from the voter rolls because they're believed to be felons. The state Division of Elections sent lists of possible felons to all 67 counties for elections supervisors to verify names.

A statewide survey of 444 registered voters indicated that 71 percent think the rolls should remain exempt from being publicly distributed or copied. Only 18 percent of those surveyed by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. said the records should be open, and 11 percent were undecided.

But Ian Sancho, Supervisor of Elections for Leon County, says the pollsters asked the question wrong.(roll tape#1 o.q. "in context")

Speaking with WMNF's Rob Lorei today, Senator Nelson explained why he joined the lawsuit to release the name of suspected felons (roll tape#2 o.q."of open records")

Getting back to yesterday's survey, voters were asked ""Do you feel access to personal voter information should or should not be made available to other interests, including the media and businesses?"

Sancho, who opposes use of the "felon purge" lists provided by the state, said the question was "not framed in a neutral manner." He said different results could have resulted from a different phrasing of the question (roll tape#3 o.q."Florida Voters")

Brad Coker from the Mason Dixon Polling Firm said the question WAS fairly presented, saying "The question should be whether or not the state makes the information available," he said. "In voters' minds, they see this as a privacy issue."

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