After Hurricane Matthew barreled through northern Florida, forcing thousands of families to evacuate and leaving hundreds of thousands with blackouts and flooding, a federal judge ruled to extend the state's voter registration deadline to October 18.
Latino-focused voting rights group Voto Latino, which has worked throughout the presidential primary and general election season to register Latinos to vote, welcomed the decision.
"Voto Latino commends the U.S. District Court in Florida for extending the voter registration deadline in response to Hurricane Matthew," said President and CEO of Voto Latino Maria Teresa Kumar. "It is imperative that we make our country's democracy accessible to all, and Voto Latino applauds the efforts of the ACLU, Mi Familia Vota, the League of Women Voters, and the Brennan Center, organizations who joined the lawsuit and work everyday so that everyone's voice is heard."
Hispanics make up about 24 percent of the population in Florida and about 18 percent of the state's electorate. According to Pew Research, 1,795,000 of eligible Latino voters were registered throughout the state as of presidential primary.
The League of Women Voters and FLorida Democrats pressed Gov. Rick Scott to extended the October 11 deadline after the hurricane, to which he responded, "Everybody has had a lot of time to register."
"We will continue our work towards reaching perfect participation, and encourage anyone who hasn't registered to visit votolatino.org/register," Teresa Kumar said, "and those that already have, to register their friends and family."