Florida gov says he won't extend voter registration deadline over hurricane

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) on Thursday refused to extend the state's voting registration deadline in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

ADVERTISEMENT
“I’m not going to extend it,” he told reporters during a press conference in Tallahassee that evening. "Everybody has had a lot of time to register. So, on top of that, you know, we’ve got a lot of opportunities to vote, early voting, absentee voting and Election Day. 

"I don’t intend to make any changes.”

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCruz: Wife 'pretty pissed' about leaked Cancun texts CBC would back Young for OMB if Tanden falls Hillary Clinton to co-write political thriller MORE's campaign had called for Scott to extend the Oct. 11 voter registration deadline as the storm closed in. 

South Carolina, also expected to face heavy damage from Matthew, extended its own voter registration deadlines earlier Thursday.

The registration deadline was originally set for Oct. 9, but mailed voter registration forms will now be accepted as long as they are postmarked by Oct. 11. Online, faxed and email applications can be submitted before midnight on Oct. 9, while the last day for in-person registration is still this Saturday.

ADVERTISEMENT

Scott said at the news conference that protecting residents from Matthew’s expected danger remains his “No. 1 priority.”

“This storm’s a monster. Matthew is likely to produce devastating impacts from storm surges, extreme winds and heavy rains along portions of the East Coast tonight," he said.

The National Weather Service warned that Matthew could leave parts of Florida “uninhabitable for weeks” after landfall.

President Obama declared a state of emergency in Florida ahead of the Category 4 hurricane.

The disaster declaration allows state and local officials to obtain federal aid to help the recovery from the storm, which is expected to cause major devastation in the Sunshine State.

Obama’s order also allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate all disaster-relief efforts in the state.

Matthew’s approach comes amid a tight race between Clinton and Republican nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpRomney: 'Pretty sure' Trump would win 2024 GOP nomination if he ran for president Pence huddles with senior members of Republican Study Committee Trump says 'no doubt' Tiger Woods will be back after accident MORE just over a month from Election Day.

Clinton leads Trump by about 4 points nationwide, according to the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls.

-- Vicki Needham contributed