State: No decision yet whether to appeal federal judge’s invalidating of election laws

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Florida election officials have yet to decide whether they will appeal a federal judge’s ruling invalidating portions of a 2011 elections laws placing restrictions on third-party voter registration efforts, a spokesman for Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner said Thursday via the News Service of Florida.

Attorneys for the state went before a three-judge panel of the federal appellate court in Washington, D.C. Thursday, the latest chapter since federal District Judge Robert Hinkle on May 31 overturned portions of Florida’s election law, most notably a 48-hour deadline to turn in voter registration forms. “We won’t enforce changes that have been enjoined, of course, unless and until the injunction is lifted,” said Division of Elections spokesman Chris Cate. “We will continue to enforce remaining (upheld) changes in the non-covered counties.” On May 31, Hinkle barred enforcement of part of the state’s controversial elections law, saying the rules made it too difficult for non-governmental organizations to register voters. The law was being challenged by a coalition of groups including the League of Women Voters of Florida and Rock the Vote. The biggest issue was a time limit for turning in voter registration forms, which had been 10 days before lawmakers shortened it to two. Hinkle said the short time frame was unworkable and would, among other things, make it impossible for groups to use the U.S. mail to transmit registration forms to election officials.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.