Following Hurricane Matthew’s devastation of the North Carolina coast, a state judge has extended voter registration in 36 Tar Heel State counties by an additional five days.
The category five hurricane hit the state in early October causing 24 deaths, flooding, shutting down sections of Interstate 95 and briefly left over 680,000 without power.
Over the protestations of the North Carolina Republican Party and the state election board, the state’s Democrats filed suit to obtain an extension by arguing the natural disaster required a lengthening of registration until Oct. 19.
Celebrating the court’s decision, Democratic Party officials said:
“This ruling will ensure that those communities who have suffered from the devastating flooding brought on by Hurricane Matthew have the grace period that they need in order to exercise their right to vote and make their voices heard in this critical election.”
On contrast, North Carolina Republicans expressed dismay over the ruling.
“It is clear that North Carolina Democrats, who have been dominated in voter registration by Republicans, want to use a horrific natural disaster to change the rules in the middle of the game,”state Republican Chairman Robin Hayes said in a statement.
Turnout could be the key to the November election in the Tar Heel State, as Republican and Democratic candidates in both U.S. Senate and presidential election polls are within three points of each other.
[Reuters] [RealClear Politics] [Photo courtesy Brian Snyder/Reuters via Wall Street Journal]