TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – 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 scathing 29-page ruling on Friday morning, U.S. District Court Judge Mark E. Walker said his decision was “an incredibly close call” but added that “the state’s interest in preventing chaos in its already precarious --and perennially chaotic -- election outweighs the substantial burden imposed on the right to vote.”
Walker noted the historical problems the state seems to have with elections.
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“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.
Florida had already reopened its site for seven hours on Tuesday, providing another opportunity to people who weren’t able to submit their voter registrations online before Monday night’s deadline.
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.