POLITICS

Judge extends voter registration in Florida 6 days because of Hurricane Matthew

Volunteer Sandi Strickland, left, helps Roman Rodriguez, right, fill out a new voter registration form because of a change of address, as he waits in line to attend a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former vice president Al Gore, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, in Miami. A federal judge has given Democrats a partial victory in the presidential battleground of Florida, extending the state's voter registration deadline one day and agreeing to consider a longer extension in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Volunteer Sandi Strickland, left, helps Roman Rodriguez, right, fill out a new voter registration form because of a change of address, as he waits in line to attend a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former vice president Al Gore, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, in Miami. A federal judge has given Democrats a partial victory in the presidential battleground of Florida, extending the state's voter registration deadline one day and agreeing to consider a longer extension in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

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 Atlantic 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 people, and caused flooding and beach erosion.

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

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman Jackie Schutz for the governor's office said the state would accept the court's decision on the deadline.

Florida has roughly 12.5 million registered voters.

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