A federal judge ordered Florida to extend its voter registration deadline by six days, until Tuesday, because of Hurricane Matthew. In the storm’s wake, many residents are still struggling to return to their homes and recover, even as they face looming deadlines to register to vote. Nowhere has the issue of voter registration been more contentious than Florida, where Republicans had refused to push back the deadline. At a hearing Wednesday morning, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker ordered the extension. “No right is more precious than having a voice in our elections,” he said at the hearing, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The original deadline had been this week, on Oct. 11. After Gov. Rick Scott (R) refused to move that deadline, Walker had issued an emergency order Oct. 10 to keep registration open one more day so his court could hold a hearing on the matter.
In Walker’s temporary order Monday, the judge rebuked the governor’s refusal as “irrational,” “nonsensical” and “poppycock.”
“These voters have already had their lives (and, quite possibly, their homes) turned up-side down by Hurricane Matthew,” the judge wrote. “They deserve a break, especially one that is mandated by the United States Constitution.”