From Tampa Bay Times‘ Steve Bousquet, 10/10/2016:
A judge on Monday extended Florida’s voter registration deadline by one more day, through Wednesday, because of Hurricane Matthew, calling it “irrational” for the state to reject the idea.
U.S. District Judge Mark Walker granted the Florida Democratic Party’s request for a temporary restraining order, which included a rebuke of the state for refusing to extend the deadline past its scheduled time of 5 p.m. Tuesday.
“Quite simply, it is wholly irrational in this instance for Florida to refuse to extend the voter registration deadline when the state already allows the governor to suspend or move the election date due to an unforeseen emergency,” Walker wrote in a 16-page order. “If aspiring eligible Florida voters are barred from registering to vote, then those voters are stripped of one of our most precious freedoms.”
Walker also said state law is unconstitutional because while Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, can suspend or reschedule an election, no state law allows for an extension of the voter registration deadline.
“The right to vote is a ‘precious’ and ‘fundamental’ right,” Walker wrote, quoting from an earlier case.
The judge said more than 100,000 “aspiring eligible” Florida voters are likely to register in the final week before the deadline.