Judge extends Florida’s voter registration to Oct. 18

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Rain batters homes as the eye of Hurricane Matthew passes Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S. October 7, 2016.  REUTERS/Phelan Ebenhack/File Photo - RTSR9TR

Rain batters homes as the eye of Hurricane Matthew passes through Daytona Beach, Florida on October 7. Photo by Phelan Ebenhack/Reuters

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A federal judge on Wednesday extended voter registration until Oct. 18 in the battleground state of Florida, due to the disruption and damage from Hurricane Matthew.

During a hearing Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker agreed to extend the deadline for six more days. He had already extended the Oct. 11 deadline one day, after the Florida Democratic Party filed a lawsuit last weekend, following the hurricane’s brush with Florida’s east coast.

Democrats had asked Republican Gov. Rick Scott to extend the deadline, but Scott turned down the request and said people have had enough time to register.

The Florida Democratic Party lawsuit pointed out that Scott himself urged Floridians to “evacuate, evacuate, evacuate” ahead of Hurricane Matthew. The powerful storm didn’t make landfall in Florida but caused at least nine deaths. Over a two-day period it knocked out power to more than 1 million, and caused flooding and beach erosion.

Scott’s office did not offer a defense in court on Wednesday morning.

On Tuesday, Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said the state would accept the court’s decision on the deadline.

Florida has roughly 12.5 million registered voters.

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