Registration decision expected soon

Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 4:50 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) - After a two and a half-hour telephone hearing Thursday morning, the question of whether Florida should extend its voter registration is in the hands of a federal judge.

The judge is weighing whether an extension will cause more harm than good in the long run.

Statistics provided by the state comparing final day registrations in 2018 against this year suggest 21,722 more people might have registered if the system hadn’t crashed.

“The state agrees with Judge Walker on the record that the state received fewer numbers that would have otherwise been expected, even after re-opening it back up again,” said Senior Attorney for the Advancement Project Jorge Vasquez.

Voting groups suing the state had wanted another full day of registration, with a day to get ready.

“And to make sure there is enough opportunity to at least get on the radio, provide campaign ads, things like that to let the community know what their rights are,” said Vasquez.

Judge Mark Walker pointed out the state announced at noon Tuesday it was resuming registrations immediately, then asked why it wasn’t announced at noon and opened at 5 p.m. till midnight, the same hours it was down.

“Certainly we know that the portals, for the most part, were down between five to midnight,” said Vasquez.

In the state’s larger counties, steady streams of voters are delivering their mail ballots.

Those votes are already being counted.

Leon County Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley says his office has never been this busy so far from election day.

“No. Just plain old no. This is good,” said Earley.

Earley and Okaloosa’s election supervisor Paul Lux both filed affidavits warning if registration were reopened would overload their already busy offices and confuse voters.

Judge Walker is expected to rule Thursday afternoon or evening.

He said he would not entertain a stay, opening the way for whoever loses to immediately file an appeal.

Copyright 2020 Capitol News Service. All rights reserved.

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