Florida Extends Voter Registration in Light of Hurricane

african american woman voting ballot box
Rogelio V. Solis / AP

A U.S. federal court has extended Florida’s voter registration deadline for an additional six days due to Hurricane Matthew’s interruption of last-minute sign ups, CNN reports.

The ruling comes after the state’s Democratic Party filed a lawsuit seeking an additional week due to the “strong likelihood” that many of the state’s voter’s would be “severely burdened” by the hurricane’s aftermath in the upcoming election.

Gov. Rick Scott had opposed the extension, saying that “people have had time to register.”

Marc Elias, who serves as the general counsel for presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign, argued in court papers that Scott (R-FL) “unambiguously ordered” Florida citizens to evacuate, and as a result, some voters have been prevented from being able to register.

In a hearing set for Wednesday, Judge Mark E. Walker will determine whether to further extend the deadline beyond next Wednesday.

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“It has been suggested that the issue of extending the voter registration deadline is about politics. Poppycock,” Walker wrote. “This case is about the right of aspiring eligible voters to register and to have their votes counted. Nothing could be more fundamental to our democracy.”

Hurricane Matthew, a devastating Category 4 storm, struck the southeastern part of the U.S.–hitting both Florida and North Carolina, two states that are crucial to determining the outcome of this year’s presidential race.


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