Voting Rights Groups Urge Florida Secretary of State to Extend Voter Registration Deadline to Oct. 16

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 9, 2018

TALLAHASSEE—All Voting is Local and a coalition of voting rights groups are calling on Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner to extend today’s voter registration deadline to Oct. 16, as a dangerous Hurricane Michael threatens Florida and glitches to the state’s online registration website that began to be reported Monday prevented voters from registering online.

“With a life-threatening storm churning toward Florida, voters must be granted more time to register to vote and extending the voter registration deadline is a sensible way to ensure residents not only remain safe, but that their voices can be heard on Election Day,” said Dan Horton, Florida State Director for All Voting is Local. “Reports of problems to the state’s online voter registration system only underscore that it is imperative voters have more time.”

In the letter, groups note that Governor Rick Scott has already declared a state of emergency with the approaching Category 3 storm and authorized Supervisors of Elections whose offices are closed to accept paper voter registration forms when they reopen.

Groups urge the state to take the next vital step by expanding their directive extending the registration deadline to cover the entire state of Florida. In addition, they urge the state to include the opportunity to register to vote online and in any government office that offers voter registration until Oct. 16. A federal court in Florida ordered a similar one-week extension in 2016, to address the hardships voters faced during Hurricane Matthew.

In addition, groups note the state’s online voter registration system has been plagued by troubles in the final days before today’s deadline, similar to those voters experienced in July, shortly before the primary registration deadline. Statewide this week, voters reported receiving error messages when attempting to register to vote online.

Since last year, Access Democracy, one of the groups that signed the letter, made repeated public records requests concerning security and stability of the online system — but the state has not responded. Just last week, All Voting is Local and Access Democracy, projects of the Leadership Conference Education Fund, wrote a letter to the Secretary of State warning high traffic to the website could burden voters and the state should consider extending the registration deadline should problems arise.

The letter can be read in its entirety here.

The letter was signed by the following organizations: Access Democracy, A Project of The Leadership Conference Education Fund, Advancement Project, African American Ministers In Action, American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Florida, All Voting is Local – Florida, American Constitution Society, Andrew Goodman Foundation, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote, Campaign Legal Center, Campus Vote Project, Color Of Change, Common Cause, Common Cause Florida, Community Voters Project, Demos, Emgage Florida, Fair Elections Center, Florida AFL-CIO, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Keys Advocacy Center, Inc., LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, Mi Familia Vota, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., National Bar Association, National Commission for Voter Justice, National Council of Jewish Women – Florida, New Florida Majority, NextGen Florida, People For the American Way Foundation, Public Citizen, Rock the Vote, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Service Employees International Union Florida State Council, Transformative Justice Coalition, United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries, Voting Rights Alliance

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All Voting is Local fights for the right to vote through a unique combination of data-driven organizing, advocacy and communications. It is a collaborative campaign housed at The Leadership Conference Education Fund, in conjunction with Access Democracy; the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation; the American Constitution Society; the Campaign Legal Center; and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.