Lawsuit to extend voter registration continues amid skepticism

Posted at 5:14 PM, Oct 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-08 17:14:36-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The voter registration extension debate is playing out before a judge in Leon County three days after technical issues caused Florida's site to crash.

That lawsuit filed this week seeks to extend voter registration two more days.

The Leon County Supervisor of Elections, Mark Earley says people have had enough chances and the move will do more harm than good.

"Thousands of people weren't able to register to vote and it was effectively voter disenfranchisement," said Andrea Mercado, the executive director of New Florida Majority.

Mercado says the way leaders extended the registration period Tuesday didn't make sense because it was done at a different time of day, skewing turnout.

"The path was clear," Mercado said. "In 2018 you could see the spike that traditionally happens on the last day before a voter registration deadline. It's not equivalent to the number of people who registered the last day in 2020 and throughout the initial extension period."

Earley says any more changes could be harmful to the voting process, which could confuse people and just isn't necessary.

"I think people that had a problem getting registered Monday evening had plenty of time to do so and took advantage of it," said Earley.

Earley says not only did 36 people stop by Tuesday to update their information 20 more people registered along with 295 people online.

He also says reopening registration would also overburdening his staff, who need to focus on the 13,000 mail-in ballots received.

"Since Tuesday we haven't had a single person come in and say they couldn't get registered," said Earley.

But activists insist the opposite.

"That's their job," said Gilda Daniels, the director of Advancement Project Litigation. "To ensure that people are registered to vote and then to be certain the elections are carried out fairly and in a nondiscriminatory manner."

The judge's ruling has not come down yet, but we will update you ask soon as we get that info.