With hurricane approaching, Florida Dems file lawsuit to extend voter registration deadline

Voting booths in Leon County

(UPDATE) The deadline to register to vote in Florida’s Nov. 6 election is today, but with so much of the Panhandle and Big Bend region contending with the approach of Hurricane Michael, the Florida Democratic Party going to court to ask that the state extend the deadline a full week,

On Monday night, Secretary of State Ken Detzner issued a memo saying that any elections office that’s closed due to the hurricane can voter registration forms when it reopens, but that response did not satisfy Democrats. They say the state’s remedy is “insufficient and confusing.”

In a statement, Florida Democratic Party chair Terrie Rizzo said that thousands of eligible voters are complying with evacuation requests and preparing for the storm, and they may not have the ability to register to vote. Governor Rick Scott and Secretary Detzner “have failed to adequately protect the rights of these eligible voters,” Rizzo charged.

There is recent precedent to believe that the voting registration deadline could be extended. Just two years ago, a federal judge extended the deadline for an additional six days after Hurricane Matthew hit Florida. It came after Governor Scott refused to extend the registration deadline.

Despite that precedent, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia issued out a furious response, calling it “irresponsible” that the FDP would play “political games” as the storm approaches. And he called on Andrew Gillum and Bill Nelson to condemn the lawsuit.

Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry has spent the past 18 years covering news and politics in the Sunshine State, most recently with FloridaPolitics.com. He worked for five years as the political editor of Creative Loafing in Tampa, and before that he was the assistant news director at WMNF radio, where he served as creator/anchor/producer of the hour-long WMNF Evening News. A San Francisco native, Mitch began his career at KPFA Radio in Berkeley in the 1990's.

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