The New York Times is reporting that voter registration numbers are down in Florida compared to 2008, the last presidential election year — an outcome predicted by critics of Florida's controversial elections law when it was passed in 2011.
According to the paper's analysis, 81,471 fewer Floridians have registered to vote since the law took effect last July than during the same period four years ago.
The story reports that there are reasons besides the new law for the lower number. For example, in 2008 many Floridians were interested in the Democratic primary between Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama, whereas this year there was no Democratic primary.
But the strongest reason to suspect diminished registrations is the fact that the League of Women Voters has decided not to participate in registering voters for the first time in 72 years. The reason? The organization fears it could face severe penalties, per the new law, if registration forms are turned in late.
(The new law requires groups to turn in voter registration forms within 48 hours; in the past, such groups had 10 days to turn in the forms. A failure to meet the 48-hour deadline can result in fines ranging from $50 to $1,000 per applicant.)