Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Federal Judge Mark Walker Extends FL Voter Registration Through Tuesday, Oct. 18

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – This morning in Federal Court, Tallahassee, U.S. District Court Judge, Mark Walker, extended Florida's voter registration deadline through next Tuesday, October 18.

On Monday, October 10, Judge Walker signed a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) extending registration through today.

Judge Walker's TRO

Judge Walker wrote in his TRO:  "It has been suggested that the issue of extending the voter registration deadline is about politics. Poppycock. This case is about the right of aspiring eligible voters to register and to have their votes counted. Nothing could be more fundamental to our democracy."

Reported by ABC News and the Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau, both defendants in the case, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Secretary of State, Ken Detzner spoke only to acknowledge their presence.

The original registration deadline was October 11. Governor Scott refused to extend the deadline, even though there were mass evacuations all along the east coast of Florida.

As a result of hurricane Mathew, almost 1.4 millions Floridians, many of them from along the coast, were without electricity.

The lawsuit, filed by the Florida Democratic Party, was filed on Sunday, October 9, after Gov. Scott, a Republican, would not extend voter registration past the deadline.

Historically, the Democratic Party has been more aggressive than the Republicans in registering young people, African-Americans, and Hispanics.

The Judge

Judge Walker is a native Floridian. He graduated from UF and from the Levin College of Law at UF and was a law clerk for three federal court judges and also clerked for Justice Stephen H. Grimes of the Florida Supreme Court.

The Voters

Steve Bousquet of the Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau reported today, "Florida has more than 12.5 million voters, with thousands more joining the rolls each week."

Liz Horne: Columbia County Supervisor of Elections

Before posting, your reporter spoke with Liz Horne, Columbia County Supervisor of Elections.

She said that extending registration for another week will put a strain on election offices throughout the state.

She added, "This is going to be a difficult job and our office will work whatever overtime is necessary to register voters."

Ms. Horne concluded, "The judge has ruled. Everybody needs to vote. We will do whatever we need to do to make that happen in Columbia County."

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