Flagler County through the state will comply with Trump’s federal commission request for vast amounts of voter registration information, but the decision is causing a backlash.
Flagler County’s voter registration rolls have surged by 21 percent since 2009, resulting in a 90 percent registration rate, with Republicans riding a 4,500-voter advantage over Democrats.
Florida must now develop an online voter registration system by October 2017, joining 20 other states that already provide the service. Gov. Scott was reluctant to sign the measure into law.
Secretary State Ken Detzner, who told the committee he knows what a “train wreck is and they’re not pretty,” expressed unease about having a deadline to implement the program before a plan is in place.
The complicated new voter-purge process comes after supervisors scrapped last year’s non-citizen purge — the brainchild of Gov. Scott — after learning that many of the voters flagged by matching the state’s voter registration database and driver’s license records were naturalized citizens. More than half of the voters on the list were minorities.
Secretary of State Ken Detzner will go on the road next month to pitch for a revived voter scrub, but supervisors of elections, caught in the crosshairs of last year’s problematic purge, and voting-rights advocates remain skeptical.
Beyond registering, voters this election cycle are urged to know their sample ballot and fill it out ahead of time, because it’s the longest in memory. Early voting, beginning on Oct. 27, or absentee voting, is encouraged.
More Democrats than Republicans registered to vote in Florida in May, driven by women and Hispanics, but Independents continue to make the biggest gains, and in Flagler County, Republicans have widened their registration lead to a full percentage point.
The U.S. Department of Justice said Monday it will go to federal court to block Florida’s controversial effort to purge ineligible voters, ratcheting up a feud between the Obama administration and Gov. Rick Scott.
Florida appears willing to defy federal warnings that the ongoing voter purge may be illegal, although the state is leaving it up to local elections supervisors to make the call. Election officials said earlier this year as many as 180,000 names may be erroneously included on state voter rolls.