Florida: Federal Judge Denies Motion To Extend Voter Registration Deadline

MIAMI – A federal judge has rejected a request to extend the registration of Florida voters even though the state online system crashed in the hours prior to Monday’s deadline and could have stopped thousands of eligible voters from voting in the November presidential election.

In his strongly worded decision, US Federal Judge Mark Walker wrote, β€œthis court cannot remedy what the state broke.”

Walker’s decision came after many groups sued the state for an extension following the online voting system collapse on Monday, the last day Florida residents were eligible to register to vote in the November General Election. 

Walker said the extension would have burdened the election offices around the state.

β€œβ€¦the consequences of extending the deadline will reverberate across the entire elections process – forcing supervisors to divert resources to answering calls and processing new registrations – thereby hampering other important tasks, such as processing vote-by-mail requests and ballots, and administering early voting.”
US Federal Judge Mark Walker

Walker also said that, in the end, this case is not about the deadlines for Floridians to register.

β€œThis case is also not a challenge to a state statute. This case is about how a state failed its citizens. In this case, potential voters attempted to perform their civic duty, to exercise their fundamental right, only to be thwarted, once again, by a state that seemingly is never prepared for an election.”
US Federal Judge Mark Walker

Secretary of State Laurel Lee extended the registration deadline to 7 p.m. Tuesday, however, a number of groups, including Dream Defenders and New Florida Majority, quickly filed a lawsuit asking Walker to give Floridians more time to register.

The data filed by the State shows that 50,000 individuals have registered druing the extended period of time. Based on recent patterns, the judge noted that maybe more than 20,000 additional people would have registered to vote if they had been able to use the system.

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