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Federal Court Decides to Extend Florida Voter Registration

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Posted at 6:14 PM, Oct 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-11 17:54:36-04

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -  A Florida federal court has decided to extend the voter registration deadline one more day.

On Monday, a federal court found that the voter deadline should indeed be extended, not only because the decision is in the public's interest, but prioritizing deadlines over people's right to vote is "nonsensical".

"It has been suggested that the issue of extending the voter registration deadline is about politics. Poppycock. This case is about the right of aspiring eligible voters to register and to have their votes counted. Nothing could be more fundamental to our democracy," said U.S. District Judge Mark Walker. 

The Florida Democratic Party filed the suit against Governor Rick Scott and Secretary of State Ken Detzner late Sunday to try to force state officials to extend the deadline for up to a week to allow residents who fled Hurricane Matthew to continue registering.

“According to the judge, Florida law does not allow for the State to extend the voter registration deadline – see page nine, paragraph two. Therefore, according to the judge, extending the voter registration deadline is not a decision specifically granted to the Governor of Florida, including in a declared state of emergency like Hurricane Matthew," said Jackie Schutz, Scott's Communications Director, "Additionally, the judge stated that the Governor is not a proper party to the lawsuit. The State will follow the court’s decision and discuss with the Legislature possible amendments to current law during the upcoming legislative session.” 

As a result of the hearing, the voter registration deadline for all of Florida was extended to Wednesday at 5 p.m.

“We are thrilled with today’s ruling and we look forward to making our case on Wednesday for extending the voter registration deadline to October 18th. This is a win for the people of Florida,” said FDP Chair Allison Tant. 

A court document said that another hearing will be held in Tallahassee on Wednesday to see if the deadline will be extended by another week.