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State could tally 64,000 new voters in extended registration period

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Secretary of State Ken Detzner on Tuesday night announced nearly 37,000 Floridians had become eligible to vote in the extra week of voter registration.

He also said another nearly 27,000 applications were in the verification process, meaning the state could have almost 64,000 new voters on the rolls.

Detzner did not provide a breakdown of new registrations by party.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker of Tallahassee extended the state’s deadline to register by one week, from Oct. 11 to this Tuesday.

He did so because of damage and office closures before and after Hurricane Matthew, which battered the state’s Atlantic coast Oct. 7. Walker found state law has a “gap” in not specifically allowing more time to register after a natural disaster.

Department of State news release said in the extra week, “36,823 Florida voter registration applications were verified and are now active in the Florida Voter Registration System database.”

“There are currently 26,773 applications in the verification process (and) the department will devote more than 65 staff members to assist in this process up until Election Day,” it added. “Of this number, 19 staff members are trained and approved by the state to enter and handle sensitive voter information.”

The state “is committed to ensuring that all Floridians who have registered to vote by the extended voter registration deadline can vote,” said Detzner, the state’s chief election officer. “All Floridians who submitted a complete voter registration application in person by 5 p.m. today, or postmarked by today, will be verified and registered to vote by the start of mandatory statewide early voting, which begins on Oct. 29.

“That means if you registered by today’s deadline, are eligible, and your registration is verified, you will have all available options to exercise your right to vote, which include vote-by-mail, early voting, and voting at the polls on Election Day,” he said.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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