Tens of thousands of voters register during extra week

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida's voter rolls may jump by more than 60,000 people due to a federal judge ordering an extra week for registration.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner issued a statement late Tuesday that said 36,823 applications submitted since Oct. 11 had been verified, and another 26,773 were in the verification process.

The registration deadline was originally Oct. 11, but U.S. District Judge Mark Walker extended it a week because of Hurricane Matthew.

"All Floridians who submitted a complete voter registration application in person by 5 p.m. today (Tuesday), or postmarked by today (Tuesday), will be verified and registered to vote by the start of mandatory statewide early voting, which begins on October 29," Detzner said in the statement. "That means if you registered by today's (Tuesday's) deadline, are eligible, and your registration is verified, you will have all available options to exercise your right to vote, which include: vote-by-mail, early voting, and voting at the polls on Election Day."

Detzner's release didn't break down the registration applications by party.

The Florida Democratic Party went to federal court to get the deadline extended after Hurricane Matthew forced evacuations of residents and closed government buildings in the days leading up to the original Oct. 11 deadline.

The latest registration numbers came as elections officials reported that 758,420 Floridians had already cast vote-by-mail ballots for the Nov. 8 general election.

Of those, Republicans accounted for the largest number of returned ballots, with 316,400.

Democrats had gone slightly ahead earlier in the week, but the latest numbers showed 305,626 Democrats had returned vote-by-mail ballots.

Also, ballots had been returned by 20,303 people registered with third parties and by 116,091 independents.

News Service of Florida