Hurricane Matthew Can't Keep You from Voting: FL Registration Extended


Good news Floridians — On Oct. 12, a Florida federal judge agreed to extend voting registration in the state until Oct. 18, because of the destruction and disruption Hurricane Matthew left in its wake. For those of you who were affected by the hurricane and didn’t have time to register, here is your chance to.

Judge Mark E. Walker granted a preliminary injunction to the Florida Democratic Party, who had argued that voter registration needed to be moved because of the effects of the storm, that lasted several days along the Eastern seaboard, according to a report from CNN. Marc Elias, an attorney for the FDP, said Florida voters were faced with a daunting and life threatening obstacle that prevented them from registering to vote in time, according to CNN.

This extension may bring a sigh of relief for those who were unable to register in time, because they were dealing with things like insurance claims in the aftermath of the storm. However, if you are unsure of the registration procedure, here is some information to guide you through the process.

Who Can Register to Vote

According to the Florida Department of State, in order to register to vote in Florida, you must:

  • Be a citizen of the U.S. To be a U.S. citizen, you must be born in the country or certain U.S. territories, be born to U.S. citizen parents, or be naturalized.

  • Be a Florida resident.

  • Be 18 years old (You may pre-register to vote if you are 16 years old, but you cannot vote until you are 18 years old).

  • Not have been judged to be mentally incapacitated with respect to voting in Florida or any other state without having the right to vote restored.

  • Not have been convicted of a felony without your civil rights been restored.

  • Provide your current and valid Florida driver’s license number or Florida identification card number. If you do not have a Florida driver’s license number or a Florida identification card number, then you must provide the last four digits of your Social Security Number. If you do not have any of these items, you must write “none” in the box or field.

Ways to Register

By Mail

If you intend to complete your registration by mail, you can pick up a Florida Voter Registration Application from your County Supervisor of Elections. Complete, sign, and mail the application to the office of your County Supervisor of Elections.

DMV or Tax Collector’s Office

If you attend to apply with your driver’s license, you can go to a Florida Department of Motor of Vehicle office or tax collector’s office that issues driver’s license or identification cards.

Voter Registration Agency

You can apply at any voter registration agency, which is a government entity or office designated by the National Voter Registration Act or state law, who must allow you to apply to register. These offices include, public library, military recruitment office, any office that primarily serves persons with disabilities, and any office that provides public assistance.

Registration is Only the Start

For those who haven’t yet been able to register to vote, the judge’s week-long extension might provide some relief to those affected by Hurricane Matthew’s destruction. Registration is just the beginning, though. If you have more questions about the process, check out our answers to the five biggest questions about voting.

Note: This is part of a series on Election 2016. Previously, we wrote about how Latinos this year can reverse their low voter turnout trend. The next post discusses how the Americans with Disabilities Act ensures people’s access to the ballot box.