After Florida Governor Rick Scott (who is also the chair of a Donald Trump Super PAC) refused a request to extend the voter registration deadline due to Hurricane Matthew last week, a federal judge has ordered a one week extension through next Tuesday:
A federal judge on Wednesday extended voter registration until Oct. 18 in the battleground state of Florida, due to the disruption and damage from Hurricane Matthew.
During a hearing Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker agreed to extend the deadline for six more days. He had already extended the Oct. 11 deadline one day, after the Florida Democratic Party filed a lawsuit last weekend, following the hurricane's brush with Florida's east coast.
Walker said in an order issued shortly afterward that he acted swiftly because "no right is more precious than having a voice in our democracy.""Hopefully it is not lost on anyone that the right to have a voice is why this great country exists in the first place," wrote Walker, who set the deadline at 5 p.m. on Oct. 18....
...Democrats late last week asked Republican Gov. Rick Scott to extend the deadline, but Scott turned down the request and said people have had enough time to register. Scott brushed aside questions on whether his decision was related to his staunch support of GOP nominee Donald Trump.
In court, however, attorneys for both Scott and the state's chief top elections official offered no defense of the existing deadline and did not object to an extension. Most of the hour-long hearing before Walker was spent discussing how long to extend voter registration.
Walker said he did not believe that Scott had authority to use his emergency powers to waive the deadline. But he also pointed out that Florida law already allows the governor to suspend or delay an election if there is an emergency.
"There is a gap in Florida law that renders (the deadline) constitutionally untenable," Walker said.