Florida Can Reject Incomplete Registrations

Florida election officials will not be required to process incomplete voter registration forms (search) for the presidential election, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King (search) said the three prospective voters for whom the lawsuit was filed did not have the legal standing to pursue the case, which was backed by the AFL-CIO (search).

But he gave the union a chance to file a new version of the lawsuit next month with people who meet the standard.

That leaves the AFL-CIO and the Advancement Project, a social action group, on the losing side of an attempt to force election officials to accept incomplete registration forms before the Nov. 2 election.

The forms were from people who signed to affirm their eligibility, but failed to provide an identification number, such as from a driver's license or a Social Security card, or check boxes affirming their citizenship, mental capacity and felony status.

Applicants filling out registration cards are required to sign a form, affirming that they meet eligibility requirements, but applicants must also check separate boxes on the form.

Attorneys with the Washington-based Advancement Project said the plaintiffs would appeal by Friday. The group argued that the rejections disqualified more than 14,000 people across the state, with a disparate effect on minorities. Nearly 45 percent of the challenged forms in one county, Duval, came from blacks.

"Our goal is still to see if we can get relief for our clients before Election Day," said Sheila Thomas, an Advancement Project attorney.