The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia [advocacy website] on Monday filed a lawsuit [complaint] against two officials in Georgia seeking an extension of the voting registration deadline [ACLU report]. The lawsuit comes after Hurricane Matthew affected many coastal states days before registration deadlines, creating mandatory evacuations, power outages, and other situations that hindered citizens’ ability to register. The ACLU of Georgia is suing Governor Nathan Deal [official website] and Secretary of State Brian Kemp [official profile], who have refused requests of extension in six affected counties. The plaintiffs claim that refusal hurts the democratic process and voter participation, and that it has a disproportionate impact on minorities and young voters. Although one county was granted an extension through a previous judicial ruling [CNN report], the lawsuit seeks to enjoin enforcement of the previous October 11 deadline and provide an additional six days of registration for all six counties.
Voting issues have become contentious as the presidential election approaches. Last week a federal judge in Florida extended the voter registration deadline [JURIST report] by six days due to the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Earlier this month a federal court issued [JURIST report] a preliminary injunction in favor of the Pyramid Lake and Walker River Paiute Native American tribes challenging Nevada’s voting procedure of failing to provide polling places on Native American reservations. Late last month California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation [JURIST report] clarifying felons’ voting rights.