When Did Voter Registration Deadlines Become Partisan?

posted by Claudia Mendoza - 

When exactly did voter registration deadlines become partisan events? Here's an excerpt from the Miami Herald. With hours left to register to vote in Florida, complaints are mounting over glitches 

Excerpt: Two controversies erupted in Florida Tuesday, one over a state online voter registration system and the other involving Hurricane Michael’s disruption of the last day that residents could become eligible voters in 2018. 

That huge swirling menace in the Gulf known as Hurricane Michael has the attention of Floridians four weeks before Election Day. 

But a disturbance of another kind is intensifying, and it involves voting. 

Two controversies erupted at once Tuesday, one over a state online voter registration system and the other involving the storm’s disruption of the last day that Florida residents could become eligible voters in 2018. 

Complaints multiplied from people who say the state’s online registration portal was not working. The portal, which was a year old on Oct. 1, has had glitches before, but never this close to a voter registration deadline, and it prompted threats of legal action. 

The fast-approaching storm’s disruption of the last day of voter registration prompted Scott’s administration to extend the registration deadline by one day, but only in those counties that planned to close all or part of Tuesday because of the hurricane. 

“It’s the right remedy. I think it makes pretty good sense,” said Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux in Okaloosa County, which closed at 12 noon Tuesday and plans to reopen Thursday morning. 

But it wasn’t enough for the Florida Democratic Party, which filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday to extend the registration deadline by a full week. 

Democrats called Detzner’s one-day proposal insufficient and confusing and that it fails to protect Floridians’ voting rights. 

If Detzner doesn’t extend the deadline by a week in the affected areas, the Democrats said, “thousands of eligible voters will be disenfranchised.” 

Bottom Line: First, there was zero indication of any type of sustained inability to register to vote yesterday, which by the way, is just one way in which one can register to vote. Second, while there might be a small smattering of very specific examples of people relocating to Florida just in time to be eligible, why is it that concerns about even a day of registration are treated as though it’s as important as Election Day itself? Maybe it’s that I’m looking for informed voters and if you’re having to be reminded one day before the deadline to register, you're probably not among the more informed generally. But what gets me the most is the partisan bend.  

Why would Democrats be so concerned about suing for an extra week of registration time and how exactly is this quote explained. If Detzner doesn’t extend the deadline by a week in the affected areas, Democrats said, “thousands of eligible voters will be disenfranchised.” 

How is it exactly that Democrats know that there would be thousands of additional people who’d register to vote in a single day in the least populated region of our state no less? Isn’t that a statement of fact that can’t under any circumstance be substantiated (legally anyway)? 

There are two sides to stories and one side to facts. Here’s a fact and let me be clear. The statement by Florida’s Democratic Party that “thousands of eligible voters will be disenfranchised” cannot legally be substantiated. So, which is it? Is the party making that number up or are they involved in illegal activity? I report, you decide.

Photo by: Joe Raedle/Getty Images 

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