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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Federal judge extends Florida’s voter registration deadline through Tuesday



U.S. District Judge Mark Walker on Wednesday ordered the extension of Florida’s voter registration by one week, until next Tuesday, because of Hurricane Matthew.

“No right is more precious than having a voice in our elections,” Walker said Wednesday during a 40-minute hearing in a Tallahassee courtroom.

The Florida Democratic Party had asked for an extension of the deadline in the wake of the disarray left behind by Hurricane Matthew, which led to evacuation orders of more than 1 million residents.

Attorneys for Gov. Rick Scott, who had opposed the extension, and Secretary of State Ken Detzner spoke only to acknowledge their presence. They didn’t argue a position before Walker.

Democrats filed a lawsuit Sunday against Scott, arguing that Scott refused to extend the deadline for the very residents he ordered to evacuate for the storm.

“Many Floridians who would have registered to vote prior to the Oct. 11 registration deadline have been displaced or otherwise prevented from registering,” the lawsuit stated.

On Monday, Walker granted an emergency order extending the deadline for one day to allow for today’s hearing.

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 11:05am]


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