News & Politics

Hillary Campaign Doesn't Want Hurricane Matthew to Interfere with FL Voter Registration

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a town hall at the Haverford Community Recreation and Environmental Center in Haverford, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Priorities, priorities.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign team asked the state of Florida to extend the voter registration deadline after several Democrat-allied groups had to cancel voter registration drives because a deadly hurricane is obliterating parts of the state.  The current deadline to register to vote is Tuesday, October 11.

“The one thing that we are hoping and expecting is that officials in Florida will adapt deadlines to account for the storm,” campaign manager Robby Mook told reporters. “Our hope would be that a little bit more time would be given for people that were expecting to get registered before the election.”

How does that work? An unregistered resident knows she wants to register to vote but she just waits and waits and waits to do so? That doesn’t sound right.

Cancellations began Wednesday: When President Barack Obama called into Miami’s 99 Jamz radio station, host Felisha Monet told him they’d called off a registration drive.

Engage Miami Civic Fund had intended to register students at Florida International University and Miami Dade College, as well as at several high schools, on Thursday and Friday. The group is trying to reschedule for Monday and Tuesday but acknowledged that the busy weekend events will be lost.

“This was one of our most scheduled weeks and weekends of the fall for voter registration,” executive director Rob Biskupic-Knight said in an email to the Miami Herald.

In Orlando, NCLR, the National Council of La Raza, suspended canvassing Thursday, according to Jared Nordlund, the group’s Florida senior strategist for civic engagement.

The storm’s not personal, voter “registration” crowd. The state’s priority should be dealing with the aftermath of the damage; the hurricane will destroy countless homes, down electricity lines, and interfere with phone service. The deadline to register to vote is known well in advance.

And get ready for a possible nightmare:

Thursday on Twitter, University of California Irvine law professor Richard Hasen laid out a possible nightmare electoral scenario following the storm, in which Democrats sue to extend the registration deadline, displaced residents are unable to vote by mail and the Florida election falls under so much scrutiny it ends up in a deadlocked 4-4 U.S. Supreme Court.

The bottom line, he speculated: “a hurricane in FL whose votes could be decisive for president is one of the worst election administration nightmares.”

Another instance of the Clinton’s campaign’s priorities was the recent ad buy on the Weather Channel.  The campaign said it asked the channel to delay the ads until after the bodies are cold.

“Our first priority on Hurricane Matthew is that people are safe,” Mook said. “We don’t think that the voters of Florida need this election to get mixed up with their efforts to get information on this storm.”

Of course it is.