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Rick Scott won’t extend voter registration deadline

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday night said the state’s deadline next Tuesday to register to vote is staying put.

“I’m not going to extend it,” Scott told reporters at a Hurricane Matthew briefing in the state’s Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.

“Everybody has had a lot of time to register,” he said. “On top of that, we’ve got lots of opportunities to vote: Early voting, absentee voting and Election Day. So I don’t intend to make any changes.”

The campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had asked Florida election officials to extend the deadline because of the storm’s potential to trip up stragglers trying to get on the voting rolls.

CNN reported Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said, “We are hoping and expecting that officials in Florida will adapt deadlines to account for the storm.”

“Our hope would be that a little bit more time will be given for people who were expecting to be able to get registered before the election,” Mook said.

The hurricane has caused the South Carolina Election Commission to extend that state’s registration deadline, which was Saturday, according to The Post and Courier of Charleston.

Mailed voter registration forms postmarked as late as Oct. 11 now will be accepted, the newspaper reported.

Palmetto State residents intending to register in person still must do so by Saturday, it added, but noted many county and state offices will be closed by the storm.

Daniel A. Smith, a political science professor at the University of Florida, tweeted later Thursday night there was a swell of down-to-the-wire registrations four years ago.

“Just to be clear, @FLGovScott: in Florida in 2012, 86k citizens registered in final 8 days; 50k registered in final 5 days (Oct. 4-8, 2012),” he wrote.

Written By

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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