A federal judge in Florida on Wednesday extended the voter registration deadline due to the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The Florida Democratic Party [official website] originally filed the lawsuit [JURIST report] on Sunday, and Judge Mark Walker of the US District Court for the Northern District of Florida [official website] extended the deadline [JURIST report] to Wednesday until he could hold a hearing on the matter. Republican Governor Rick Scott [official website] opposed moving the deadline on the basis that citizens had plenty of time to register prior to Hurricane Matthew. Ruling from the bench Wednesday, Walker moved the registration deadline to October 18, giving citizens an extra six days to register.
Voting issues have become especially contentious as the presidential election approaches. Last week 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. The law now clarifies that those sentenced under the third category of Criminal Justice Realignment Act of 2011, a term in county jail, are not stripped of their constitutional right to vote and confirms that only those serving a state-prison sentence or on parole and under California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation supervision lose the right to vote. Earlier in September a judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted a motion [JURIST report] blocking Illinois from allowing voter registration on Election Day in the state’s most populated counties. The week before the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit struck down [JURIST report] a procedure implemented by the Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted that effectively eliminated inactive voters from registration rolls if they failed to respond to letters requesting confirmation of their status and addresses.