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Voter Registration Groups Scramble to Catch Up

Oct 1, 2012 | WMFE - Florida's voter registration numbers for both Republicans and Democrats stagnated over the course the past year and political experts say it's partly due to a law passed last year that put limits on third party voter registration. But now that some of those restrictions have eased, there's a rush to ramp up voter registration drives before the October 9th deadline.

University of Florida Political Scientist Daniel Smith says voter registration in Florida has suffered since the legislature passed new election laws last year.

Smith says groups, like the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote, were forced to halt their voter registration drives because of restrictions in the new election law.

Jessica Lowe-Minor with the League of Women Voters of Florida agrees the League saw a slump in their voter registration drive efforts, but says they’re now ready back in the game, after a federal judge ruled in their favor.

“We’re excited to move forward in conjunction with the state to bring people onto the voter registration rolls and we are certainly doubling down our efforts. We have almost 400 League Volunteers who are authorized to do voter registration in the state at this time," says Lowe-Minor.

Republican in the state legislature pushed for new, more restrictive measures for registering voters by third party groups.

The lawmakers said their intention was cut down on voter fraud and those groups were forced to halt their voter registration drives because of restrictions in the new election law. 

The League and other voting rights groups sued and a federal judge ruled in their favor tossing out some of the more restrictive provisions in the new law.

The groups immediately resumed their voter registration efforts but say they probably won’t be able to make up for the lost months of voter registration and doubt they’ll be able to reach as many unregistered citizens, as in previous election years.

The last day to register voters in Florida is next Tuesday, October 9th. Early voting begins on October 27th and will last for eight days.


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