The deadline to register to vote in the 2018 midterm elections in Florida has not been extended, following a request to push it back a week due to Hurricane Michael.
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle denied the Florida Democratic Party’s request to keep voting registration open until Oct. 16 over concerns that the extreme weather event may have prevented people from registering before the original deadline on Tuesday.
“The party has asked for a statewide extension of one week for all forms of registration. But there is no justification for this,” Hinkle wrote, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “Some parts of the state were affected little by the hurricane. Extending the deadline in those parts of the state would not level the playing field or provide a remedy for the hurricane’s effects. Large numbers of voters register shortly before the deadline, but that happens routinely, with or without a hurricane. A state could set a later deadline or no deadline at all, but that is not the course Florida has chosen. The party does not challenge in this lawsuit the state’s decision to set a deadline 29 days before an election.”
[More: Hurricane Michael leaves 1.2 million in the dark from Florida to Virginia]
County elections supervisors must receive paper registration applications the day that their offices reopen — if their offices were closed Tuesday — according to instructions from Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner.
Hinkle is requiring areas that were closed earlier this week to follow Detzner's instructions. Paper registration applications will be accepted when all county elections offices have their first "full" business day.
Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday as a powerful Category 4 storm with 155 miles per hour maximum sustained winds. It quickly moves inland toward George and the Mid Atlantic from there.