Hours after warning state residents that the hurricane bearing down on their coastline “will kill” those who remain in evacuation zones, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) announced that he would not extend the Tuesday deadline for voter registration.
“Everybody has had a lot of time to register,” Scott, who chairs the pro-Donald Trump Rebuilding America Now PAC, said in a storm update on Thursday night. “On top of that, we’ve got lots of opportunities to vote: Early voting, absentee voting and Election Day. So, I don’t intend to make any changes.”
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign requested a deadline extension to accommodate the thousands of voters who have been forced from their homes by the fierce winds and storm surge caused by the hurricane, which was downgraded to a Category 3 storm overnight.
“We are hoping and expecting that officials in Florida will adapt deadlines to account for the storm,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told reporters in a Thursday press conference, according to Politico.
While Politico reported that campaign staffers did not say if they planned to sue over Scott’s decision, a partner at Perkins Coie, a law firm that works for both Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee wrote a tweet saying other folks would “have the last say on this.”
“#seeyouincourt”, attorney Jean-Jacques Cabou wrote on Twitter, including Scott’s handle.
— J Cabou (@CabouJ) October 7, 2016
A surge of voter interest is typical in the final days before registration closes, according to those who study Florida elections. Politico reported that a remarkable 86,000 people registered to vote in the last eight days before the deadline in 2012, 40 percent of whom were Democrats, according to University of Florida political science professor Daniel Smith. Only 21 percent were Republican.
Officials in South Carolina, another state expected to be affected by the storm, have already extended the voter registration deadline.