Florida Democrats were pushing for new voting rules in the state that would allow ballots to be cast even before a voter’s registration is complete.
But state officials warned that allowing people to cast a ballot during early voting before their registration application had been verified could create chaos.
Following the disruption caused by Hurricane Matthew, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker extended the voting registration deadline in Florida to Oct. 18.
With some counties beginning early voting next week, election officials have reportedly told the Florida Democratic Party that they will not be able to verify all the new registrations in time.
According to WOKV:
Secretary of State Ken Detzner has estimated that nearly 64,000 people registered during the extended period. But as of Tuesday, there were nearly 27,000 people whose applications were still undergoing verification, including checking social security numbers and driver’s license information.
State officials say they are working to verify all applications by Oct. 29, the date mandatory early voting begins statewide.
“Our number one priority is to make sure that voters have the resources they need to have the opportunity to vote,” Detzner said in a statement. “Our goal is to encourage 100 percent voter participation and have zero percent fraud. The state of Florida is committed to ensuring that all Floridians who have registered to vote by the extended voter registration deadline can vote.”
Detzner and the Republican Party of Florida opposed the move though the motion, filed by the state’s Democratic Party, argued that not doing so “may result in the disenfranchisement of these voters.”
Attorneys for Detzner, who works for Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican and supporter of GOP nominee, say the request is overly broad and unnecessary because no voters will be unable to vote.
They added that there is no evidence that the state is ignoring Walker’s previous order and that granting it would “threaten chaos, non-uniform results, and unnecessary future legal challenges.” They said that poll workers aren’t trained and don’t have access to the information needed to verify someone’s identity.
Blaise Ingoglia, chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, called the lawsuit “dangerous” and “unprecedented.”
“This lawsuit will strip away any safeguards that protect the integrity of the voting process,” he said in a statement.
A federal judge rejected the proposed election rule changes following a hearing on Thursday, according to WKMG-TV.
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