A federal judge Wednesday ordered the deadline for registering to vote in Florida extended through Oct. 18 because of disruption stemming from Hurricane Matthew.
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker sided with lawyers for the Florida Democratic Party and other groups, who argued at a hearing in Tallahassee that thousands of potential voters — many of them minorities or newly naturalized citizens — risked losing the opportunity to register if more days were not added.
“There is no right more precious than having a voice in our election,” Walker concluded.
While Hurricane Matthew was raging off Florida’s east coast, the Florida Democratic Party last week unsuccessfully urged Gov. Rick Scott to extend the state’s Oct. 11. Scott refused, saying Floridians already had plenty of time to register.
But after Democrats on Sunday sued Scott and Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who oversees elections, Walker issued an order extending Tuesday’s deadline until 5 p.m. today.
Lawyers representing Scott and Detzner did not contest the call for more time during Wednesday’s hearing before Walker.
Democrats were backed by the Florida League of Women Voters and the New Florida Majority and Mi Familia Vota, which contend they had voter-registration events scrapped because of the storm.
Need to register to vote? Visit The Palm Beach Post’s guide to how to register here.