Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott has rejected a request from the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline because of Hurricane Matthew.
The registration deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 11.
“The one thing that we are hoping and expecting is that officials in Florida will adapt deadlines to account for the storm,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said Thursday. “Our hope would be that a little bit more time would be given for people that were expecting to get registered before the election.”
However, Scott has rejected their proposition.
“I’m not going to extend it,” Scott said Thursday. “Everybody has had a lot of time to register. So, on top of that, you know, we’ve got a lot of opportunities to vote, early voting, absentee voting and Election Day. I don’t intend to make any changes.”
Making the hurricane a political issue has touched a nerve.
“For any political party to ask this in the middle of a storm is political,” said Jackie Schutz, a spokeswoman for Scott. “Our No. 1 focus is protecting life. There’ll be another day for politics.”
A tweet from a law firm affiliated with the Clinton campaign hinted that day may be coming in court.
— J Cabou (@CabouJ) October 7, 2016
Former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush asked both campaigns pursuing votes in the key swing state to be mindful of what matters most.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) October 6, 2016
Deadlines are often the catalyst for voters to register.
About 50,000 people registered in Florida during the final five days in 2012, according to University of Florida professor Daniel A. Smith.
“Right at the end, people feel the urgency to do something,” said Gihan Perera, head of Florida New Majority, which called off its weekend registration events due to the storm.
South Carolina, which is expected to face Matthew in the coming days, announced it would accept mailed voter registration forms postmarked as of Tuesday. The original deadline was set for Sunday. South Carolina’s last day for in-person registration, Saturday, has not changed.
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