In what is a victory for democracy, a federal judge on Wednesday decided to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline by a week, citing the impact of Hurricane Matthew. The new deadline to register to vote in the Sunshine state is Oct. 18.
The media call it a victory for Democrats since the state party urged officials to extend the deadline, but this should be considered a victory for anybody who values the democratic process.
“No right is more precious than having a voice in our democracy,” Judge Mark E. Walker wrote in his order to extend registration. “Hopefully, it is not lost on anyone that the right to have a voice is why this great country exists in the first place.”
The cutoff was originally extended by a day so a hearing could be held to make a decision on the deadline. CNN notes that the judge heard testimony about the storm’s disruptive impact on election offices across the state and ultimately decided an extension was appropriate.
“We’ll now be able to make up for lost time and help register people whose lives were disrupted by the storm,” said Pamela Goodman, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, according to CNN. “We’re grateful that the storm did not silence their voices.”
Of course, not everybody was happy.
Florida’s Republican governor and Trump super PAC chair Rick Scott was opposed to the extension, saying that voters in his state had ample time to register. The fact that 1.5 million Florida citizens were mandated to evacuate their homes during the final week of registration didn’t seem to cross his mind.
“People have had time to register,” Scott said.
Florida, of course, is the biggest battleground state on the map, rewarding the winner with 29 electoral votes. Both candidates have invested much time and money in hopes of carrying the state, but it is a must-win for Trump, who has very few paths to 270 without the Sunshine State’s electoral votes.
According to RealClearPolitics, Clinton currently leads Trump there by over 3 percentage points.
It’s no wonder Republicans want fewer people to vote in Florida this fall.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.