TALLAHASSEE — Anyone who properly filled out a voter registration form will be able to vote even if the Social Security or driver license number on the application can't be matched with government databases, the state's top elections official said Friday.
A federal judge earlier this week ordered Florida to take that step, throwing out a law that went into effect last Jan. 1 that prevented registration when matches can't be made. The law was supposed to prevent voter fraud.
But the state said it would appeal the judge's decision and Secretary of State Kurt Browning's office earlier this week said local officials couldn't immediately comply for technical reasons.
Late Friday, Browning said he'd issue instructions to county elections supervisors on how to comply with U.S. District Judge Stephan Mickle's instruction. He also said anyone who has tried to register since the anti-fraud law took effect and been rejected because of it will now have their application reprocessed.
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Division of Elections Spokesman Sterling Ivey said the state will reprocess the applications of 14,000 people whose applications to vote were turned down this year because of the law. If the application is otherwise valid, those people will be registered as voters starting Dec. 28, in plenty of time to vote in the Jan. 29 presidential primary election.
Anyone who registers from here forward also won't have to comply with the court-rejected anti-fraud law either, Ivey said.
Mickle on Tuesday issued a temporary injunction setting aside the law that prevents people from registering to vote if officials cannot match identifying numbers to federal or state databases.
Plaintiffs had argued it could easily and unfairly exclude people based on simple mistakes. For example, if someone got their driver license number wrong by one digit, they could be prevented from registering.