Rick Scott's Voter Registration Laws Are Dead, But Democratic Voter Registration In Florida Has Plummeted
Between July 1 of last year and July 31 of this year, only 11,365 new voters have registered as Democrats in Florida. In that same time, 128,039 new Republicans have registered to vote in the state. While Democrats still have more registered voters in the state, the trend marks a historic change in Florida's political make up, and just so happens to coincide with Rick Scott's controversial and possibly politically motivated new voter registration laws.
Yesterday, however, a federal judge signaled that he would sign an order permanently barring Florida from enforcing the new rules.
While Democrats still hold an advantage of 445,794 registered voters in the state over Republican, the recent change in new registrations is certainly drastic.
Among other things, Scott's laws demanded that third-party voter registration groups turn in new registrations to the state within 48 hours to the exact minute, as opposed to 10 days. While many voter registration groups, like the League of Women Voters, are non-partisan, they tend to target groups like minorities and college students, groups that tend to lean Democrat.
"It has without a doubt hurt registration numbers," said Deirdre Macnab, president of the non-partisan League of Women Voters of Florida, told the Times-Union. "It really gummed up the works and made it harder for Floridians to get registered."
Much has been said about how Scott's laws were possibly politically motivated. Former Republican Party of Florida chair, the controversial Jim Greer, claims that the party discussed ways to disenfranchise black voters.
Scott's predecessor, Charlie Crist, who was elected as Florida's governor as a Republican, slammed the laws this past April in a Tampa Bay Times op-ed.
"These new measures appear to be a step backward in protecting the right to vote for citizens of the Sunshine State," he wrote.
In May, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle put an injunction on the new laws, claiming they were unconstitutional. Yesterday, he signed an order in which he signaled he would make the injunction permanent. The state will not challenge the injunction.
Other voter laws signed by Scott, including those that reduce early voting, are still in effect.
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