Federal judge denies motion to extend Florida voter registration

Published: Oct. 9, 2020 at 8:25 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV/AP) - A federal judge has denied a motion to extend Florida’s voting registration deadline for two days. U.S. Federal Judge Mark Walker made this decision in the wake of Florida’s election website crashing on Monday.

A 29-page report was filed around 12 a.m. Friday. In it, Federal Judge Walker articulated his criticism.

“Notwithstanding the fact that cinemas across the country remain closed, somehow, I feel like I’ve seen this movie before,” Walker wrote in the report. “Just shy of a month from election day, with the earliest mail-in ballots beginning to be counted, Florida has done it again. In the final hours of Florida’s registration period, during an election year, coinciding with a prolonged and incredibly damaging public health emergency, Florida’s voter registration website crashed, effectively preventing thousands of potential voters from safely registering to vote before the midnight deadline.”

Data filed by the state indicates that 50,000 people registered during the extended time period. Based on previous trends, the judge noted, perhaps more than 20,000 additional people might have also registered to vote, if they had been able to access the system.

The judge also expressed how Secretary of State Laurel Lee did not provide ample notice that the voter registration deadline had been extended.

“With the public sounding the alarm, the Secretary of State decided to implement a half measure,” Walker wrote. “She hastily and briefly extended the registration period and ordered Florida’s supervisors of election to accept applications submitted by the Secretary’s new ‘book closing’ deadline.”

In a closing remark, Judge Walker says the state needs to improve its election process.

“In so ruling, this Court notes that every man who has stepped foot on the moon launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Yet, Florida has failed to figure out how to run an election properly - a task simpler than rocket science,” Walker wrote.

You can read the full order below or at this link.

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