MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Democrats and civil rights groups are hailing it as a victory after a federal judge granted Floridians more time to register to vote.
This just two days after Florida federal Judge Mark Walker ordered a one-day extension for the voter registration deadline in the state which was previously Tuesday, October 11th.
On Wednesday, Judge Walker extended the registration deadline to Tuesday, October 18th. The Director of the ACLU Voting Rights Project, tweeted out the news.
— Dale Ho (@dale_e_ho) October 12, 2016
Wednesday’s hearing allowed for a discussion as to whether Floridians needed more time to register after Florida Governor Rick Scott ordered about 1.5 million residents to evacuate ahead of a possible hit by Hurricane Matthew last week.
Several Democratic leaders called on Governor Scott last week to extend the deadline. Scott balked, so the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) filed a lawsuit against Scott and Secretary of the State of Florida Ken Detzner.
“We are thrilled the court agreed to extend the voter registration deadline a full week following Hurricane Matthew. While we wish it had not taken a lawsuit to get the Scott administration to do the right thing, today’s ruling is a major victory for all Floridians and for the democratic process in the Sunshine State,” said FDP Chair Allison Tant in a statement.
“Today’s ruling is an important victory for our democracy and for every Floridian who wants to exercise his or her franchise,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a statement. “Judge Walker has rightfully taken into account the extraordinary circumstances faced by our citizens brought by Hurricane Matthew, including several days’ worth of storm preparations, power outages and road closures up and down Florida’s east coast. I applaud him for extending the deadline, even as Governor Rick Scott refused to do so in the wake of a natural disaster.”
Hillary Clinton’s campaign supported the lawsuit. It is largely thought that the extended registration period will benefit her in particular and Democrats in general. Florida’s Republican party decried the federal court order.
“No one should be surprised that a Democratic judge, appointed by a Democratic president and confirmed by a Democratic Senate would side with the Democratic party in single-handedly rewriting the law,” said Nelson Diaz, Chairman of the Miami-Dade Republican Party. Diaz said he hopes the legislature will enact legislation that will prevent judges from interfering with the election process.
Miami-Dade’s election headquarters was bustling with those registering on what they thought was the last day available.
Aniah Watts, who just turned voting age, was registering for the first time.
“It’s very important, because every vote counts,” Watts said. “I’m voting for Hillary.”
But not everyone shared her political leaning. Tim Wolf, who recently moved to Florida from Colorado, said he wasn’t going to let the election happen without him.
“I’m going to vote for Trump,” Wolf said.
Not everyone was set in their ways, however.
“Honestly, I am still thinking about it,” said Jill Pagan as she stood in line to register.“I am undecided.”
Miami-Dade Supervisor of Elections Christina White said her people will be working “seven days a week” to make certain all of those registering in the extended period are processed into the system. With registration continuing through Tuesday, elections officials will have less than a week to get the rolls updated before early voting begins Monday, October 24th.
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