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Voter Registration Deadline Extended in Florida and Arizona

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Still haven’t registered to vote? Well, you’re in luck if you reside in Arizona or Florida.

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Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee extended the deadline for voter registration to Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. ET after increased traffic crashed the registration website, CBS News reports. In a statement released Tuesday morning, Lee says she met with Gov. Ron DeSantis to discuss “the difficulties we encountered last night due to unprecedented volume and traffic to our website.”

“We are working with local Supervisors of Elections and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to ensure that all eligible registrants have the ability to submit a voter registration application by 7 p.m. this evening,” Lee said. The secretary said that the state’s voter registration site was receiving an “unprecedented” 1.1 million requests per hour. The anomaly raised concerns about potential election interference.

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“We will work with our state and federal law-enforcement partners to ensure this was not a deliberate act against the voting process,” Lee said. “If you are NOT registering to vote, we ask that you do your part for your fellow Floridians and please do not try to access RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov during this time and drive up traffic to the site.”

Lee ordered county supervisors’ offices, departments of motor vehicles offices and tax collectors’ offices to stay open until 7 p.m. on Tuesday to accept any potential applications to vote. Applications that are postmarked by Tuesday will also be accepted.

Florida is a swing state that went to Trump in 2016 and is considered an important part of the president’s path to reelection.

Arizona, weirdly, is looking to be a swing state as well this election. I say weirdly because with the amount of Trump bumper stickers I regularly see, you wouldn’t have guessed that Biden is currently leading Trump in the Arizona polls.

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If you’re one of those folks who felt voting blue in a red state was useless, first off, local elections matter, yo! Secondly, according to AZ Central, you still have time to register as a federal judge has extended the registration deadline to Oct. 23.

The extension was granted only hours before the previous deadline of Oct. 5 was set to pass. U.S. District Judge Steven P. Logan attributed the impact COVID-19 has had on face-to-face efforts to register voters. Logan said that while Arizona has made it easier to register, with online registration, a large swath of voters don’t have reliable internet access in the state.

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“Registering to vote has never been easier for some, though others are not so fortunate. Ballot access is an extremely important right, and it has been restricted during this unprecedented time,” Logan wrote in his decision.

Mi Familia Vota and Arizona Coalition for Change filed the suit as the pandemic has greatly affected their ability to register voters. While they’ve held various drive-thru registrations as well as virtual and teleconference events, the registration numbers have still been significantly depressed.

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Lawyers representing the Republican National Committee filed an appeal late Monday night, promising a legal battle that may go on up until the election. Opponents to the ruling believe that none of the executive orders signed by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey prevented people from engaging in their first amendment rights.

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, also opposed moving the deadline as county election officials will have to simultaneously process both early ballots and new registrations. Those in favor of the extension argued that it’s not unusual for deadlines to be moved in the wake of unprecedented events.

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“It’s not the first time the court has had to extend a deadline due to an unprecedented natural disaster,” argued Zoe Salzman, a lawyer representing the voting rights groups that filed the suit. She also argued that other states have later deadlines as well, making the move less unusual.

Typically Arizona is one of 15 states that closes voter registration 28-30 days before the election. An additional 19 states allow people to register to vote on the same day they cast their ballots. I’m just going to assume the other 16 states in the union throw a Bible at a ballot and let whatever happens, happen.

Jr Staff Writer @TheRoot. Watcher of wrestling, player of video games. Mr. Steal Your Disney+ Password.

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DISCUSSION

I’m in Washington, confirmed my registration is current, and even though in the grand scheme of things I could vote for a dead rat and it wouldn’t make any difference (this state’s +25 for Biden according to 538), I’m still voting...because if I don’t, I don’t get to spend four years yelling at keyboard warriors who are activists on Twitter where they don’t have to get off their couch to feel important but who can’t be arsed to “adult” and actually vote.

Even if you think (as I do) that American democracy is a sham and a joke, you still don’t want to be that guy who can’t do the one and only thing that has the potential to affect the country in a real way.