Florida Democrats sue to have voter registration deadline extended

By Chandra Lye | Oct 15, 2018

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Democratic Party (FDP) recently filed a complaint for emergency and injunctive and declaratory relief against Secretary of State Ken Detzner, claiming the legal requirement for voters to register by Oct. 9 is hindered due to Hurricane Michael. 

“Under state law, the voter registration deadline for Florida voters is Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. Eligible United States citizens who fail to register by Oct. 9 will be unable to register thereafter in time to cast a ballot in the upcoming 2018 general election scheduled to occur on Nov. 6, 2018,” they note in their complaint filed Oct. 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. 

“Although the secretary has proposed a single-day registration extension in some counties to accommodate a subset of voters affected by Hurricane Michael, his solution is insufficient and confusing. It does not adequately protect the voting rights of Florida citizens who cannot register to vote by the Oct. 9 registration deadline,” they stated. 

The FDP claims that the situation will hinder them from having Democratic candidates elected. 

“Voters will face significant hurdles to registration because of the disruption caused by Hurricane Michael. Voters attempting to register online may face internet outages due to the storm. In addition, in the last 24 hours, at least some Florida residents attempting to register to vote or update their voter registration online at RegistertoVoteFlorida.gov experienced error messages that prevented them from completing a voter registration transaction,” the FDP stated in their complaint. 

“In 2016, Hurricane Matthew made landfall just days before the voter registration deadline. After a court ordered an additional one-week extension of the statewide deadline to accommodate affected voters, 108,000 additional Floridians were able to register to vote,” they stated, citing a news article from the Miami Herald. 

Thus, in their current lawsuit, the organization has requested the courts order a week-long extension for voters to register. 

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