Judge denies motion to extend Florida’s voter registration

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A federal judge has denied a motion to extend voter registration in Florida even though a computer meltdown on the final day of registration might have prevented thousands of potential voters from taking part in November’s presidential election.

In a 29-page ruling on Friday morning, U.S. District Court Judge Mark E. Walker noted the historical problems that the state seems to have with elections.

“Notwithstanding the fact that cinemas across the country remain closed, somehow, I feel like I’ve seen this movie before. Just shy of a month from election day, with the earliest mail-in ballots beginning to be counted, Florida has done it again,” Walker wrote.

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.

Secretary of State Laurel Lee reopened the registration for seven hours Tuesday, after consulting with Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Walker rejected a state lawyer’s argument that other venues were available to register to vote, including in-person at an elections office or by mail.

“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.”

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