Federal Judge Draws The Line At More Voting Changes

Oct 20, 2016

In an emergency hearing Thursday, Tallahassee federal judge Mark Walker refused a request by the Florida Democratic Party to make additional changes to Florida’s voting system.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker was happy to oblige Florida Democrats when they sued to extend a voter registration deadline. But he declined to order more changes on Thursday.

Walker agreed to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline by a week after Democrats complained Hurricane Matthew disrupted thousands of lives.

But Walker wouldn’t order supervisors to give regular ballots to people whose registration status is still pending. Florida State Association of Elections Supervisors attorney Ron Labasky says the move would have threatened the integrity of the election.

“If the individual was not  in fact, not a qualified, registered elector, they would not be entitled to do that and the ballot could never be brought back because once it’s in the box, it’s gone.”

Supervisors and others argued voters who don’t show up on the central roll can always use a provisional ballot.

Walker criticized the state’s refusal to extend the deadline when he acted last week. But Walker says he’s impressed with Secretary of State Ken Detzner’s efforts to verify the more than 60 thousand people who took advantage of the additional time.