The extra week of voter registration across Florida that Gov. Rick Scott initially opposed has already produced nearly 37,000 new voters and the increase will keep growing in the coming days as Florida sets an all-time record in the total number of voters. Secretary of State Ken Detzner reported late Tuesday that 36,823 voter registration forms were verified and are active in the state voter database and that another 26,773 applicants are being verified, for a potential bounty of nearly 64,000 additional voters, with an undetermined additional number of voter forms being mailed that haven’t yet arrived at county elections offices. To put that number in perspective, Scott won reelection as governor two years ago by 64,145 votes. Detzner said every voter registration application must be verified using voters’ Social Security numbers and Florida driver’s license numbers to confirm voters’ IDs. Once that is done, the information is sent to the county supervisor of elections, who adds the voter to the rolls.
“The Department will devote more than 65 staff members to assist in this process up until election day,” Detzner said in a statement. “Of this number, 19 staff members are trained and approved by the state to enter and handle sensitive voter information.”
Scott last week rejected calls by Democrats to extend the voter registration deadline past Oct. 11 because of Hurricane Matthew, so Democrats sued the state and requested an extra week. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in Tallahassee approved the extension, first for one day and then for six more days, and attorneys for Scott and Detzner officially took no position in court on the extension. Scott, quoting from Walker’s decision, later said he lacked the legal authority to extend the registration period.