After a Tallahassee judge rejected extending voter registration for another week because of Hurricane Michael, advocates are still hoping to get an extension.
A lawsuit filed Wednesday by civil rights organizations is still pending and the groups still want an extension for voters who want to go to the polls Nov. 6.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Florida, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Advancement Project sued on behalf of three voting rights organizations: New Florida Majority, Common Cause and Mi Familia Vota Education Fund.
The lawsuit asks Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner to extend the voter registration deadline by at least a week, to Tuesday, Oct. 16.
The groups say this will allow Floridians affected by Hurricane Michael enough time to register to vote in the midterm election.
“Extending the registration deadline for one week would strengthen voting rights in the state,” Common Cause said in a statement.
The group said it has nearly 500 members who were affected by the storm.
Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled against the Florida Democratic Party’s request to move the voter registration deadline by a week because of complications from Hurricane Michael, according to news reports. The original registration deadline was Oct. 9.
However, Florida Supervisor of Elections offices that were closed Tuesday ahead of Hurricane Michael will still accept paper voter registration applications throughout the entire day they reopen to make up for the day they were closed.
But the lawsuit filed by civil rights organizations says that measure is not enough to offset the number of people who may not have been able to register ahead of the hurricane and who may now also be displaced because of the storm. The groups also said that many people in the state reported problems with online voter registration systems ahead of the Tuesday deadline.
“In the face of inaction by state officials, we are turning to the courts to ensure that all would-be voters who seek to exercise their voice this election cycle will not face disenfranchisement as a result of factors that are beyond their control,” said president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Kristen Clarke in a press release.
“We know that a full recovery includes making sure that everyone is where they should be had the storm not hit. That holds for all things of value, including the right to vote. With this suit, we are asking the court to give back to Florida voters their lost opportunity to register to vote.”
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