Florida rejects Clinton plea to extend voter registration deadlines

Florida Gov. Rick Scott denied a plea by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to extend the October 11 voter registration deadline because of possible disruptions resulting from Hurricane Matthew.

“I’m not going to extend it. Everybody has had a lot of time to register,” he told reporters on Thursday night.

Scott added that Floridians have had “lots of opportunities to vote” and he does not intend to make any changes.

As Hurricane Matthew barreled toward the United States, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told reporters in a conference call that he was “hoping and expecting” officials in Florida to “adapt deadlines to account” for the coming storm.

“Our hope would be that a little bit more time would be given for people that were expecting to get registered before the election,” he added.

The Clinton campaign and the state and national Democratic Committee could take legal action, but neither responded to requests for comment by deadline.

Concerned about turnout among minority voters, several Democratic-leaning political groups had events planned but were forced to cancel voter registration drives in order to allow people to evacuate.

This year voter registration is up for both parties in the Sunshine State. Republican registration has increased by 265,501 through August, and Democrats added 213,094, according to the state Division of Elections.

The rejection by Scott, who is chairman of the pro-Donald Trump Rebuilding America Now PAC, came in contrast to South Carolina’s Republican Gov. Nikki Haley.

Also in the path of the storm, the state announced it planned to provide voters more time beyond the October 8 deadline to return their voter registration applications. A South Carolina Democratic Party source told Foxnews.com that there were initially no plans to adjust the voter deadlines. However, after arguing that even if voters mailed their ballots, the Columbus Day holiday and the storm would not ensure forms were postmarked accurately.

In 2004, Hurricane Charley made landfall a week before the August 31 primary, but then-Gov. Jeb Bush declined to cancel the election. He did give local elections officials authority to delay early voting.

The Clinton campaign was subjected to charges of politicizing the storm when they purchased $63,000 in ads purchased on the Weather Channel.

Jesse Ferguson, a Clinton spokesman, issued a statement saying the campaign would make “changes to our TV ad reservations” across Florida.

"Less than 1% of those changes included The Weather Channel. We have requested that stations in Florida delay any of those ads on the Weather Channel until after the storm passes,” added Ferguson.