Florida Law May Disenfranchise New Voters

Tameka Collins is a Florida voter whose application for an absentee ballot was denied, forcing her to re-register after years on the voting rolls.
Tameka Collins is a Florida voter whose application for an absentee ballot was denied, forcing her to re-register after years on the voting rolls.
CBS

It's crunch time for volunteers looking to register new voters. In Florida, Democrats and Republicans alike have registered more than 130,000 new voters in the last month alone, leaving election workers scrambling to get them all on the rolls by Election Day.

But as CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella reports, the state's stringent fraud prevention laws may keep some of those newly registered voters - and many others - from casting their ballots.

"This is just outrageous how many people are really into this election," says volunteer Aleisha Hodo.

The sheer volume of new voter registration applications, along with the state's so-called "no match, no vote law" has election observers worried that one mistyped number could disqualify a ballot.

"We have done the math and we have begun to look at how many people are not matched, not voting already, and it could be in the tens-of-thousands in the state of Florida," said Dierdre McNabb of The League of Women Voters.

For the first time, Florida law requires a voter's driver's license or social security number to match a state or federal database. It's done to prevent fraud. Several other swing states have similar laws, but none as strict as Florida's. Wisconsin dropped its own no match rule when a test run showed one in four voters would have been eliminated because of typos and other minor problems.

"Already we've seen that over 5,000 people, as of this last Monday, have had their voter registration applications rejected," says Tova Wang of Common Cause. "The county administrators admit that it's because of mistakes like typos and variations on people's names."

Take for example Tameka Collins. When she applied for an absentee ballot, the elections office sent her a letter saying her signature didn't match. She had to re-register last month, after being a regular voter for years.

"Now I feel like I have to go and vote in person, just to make sure it counts" Collins said.

Local election officials say they're trying to clear up the problems before Nov. 4.

"Our objective is to reach the voter as quickly as possible to resolve the issue," says Deborah Clark.