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The Latest: NC will extend voter registration in 36 counties

October 14, 2016 - 2:13 PM

SAVANNAH, Ga. - The Latest on a lawsuit to extend the voter registration deadline in Georgia and North Carolina because of Hurricane Matthew (all times local):

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5 p.m.

A judge has ordered North Carolina election officials to extend the deadline to register to vote in 36 eastern counties of the state because of disruptions caused by Hurricane Matthew. The order Friday came in response to a lawsuit filed by the North Carolina Democratic Party.

The party sued State Board of Elections executive director Kim Strach in county court Friday, which is the current deadline for voter registration. A hearing on a request to extend registration to next Wednesday was held Friday afternoon.

Strach decided earlier this week to keep the Friday deadline, but told county boards to accept registration applications mailed to them until Wednesday afternoon as long as the applications were dated Friday.

The party's attorneys had argued that people should have until Wednesday to turn in their forms in person at county-elections and other government offices.

People who decide to vote early will be able to register the same day. Early voting begins Thursday.

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3:45 p.m.

A spokeswoman for Georgia's secretary of state says election officials are being told to follow a judge's order extending voter registration in one coastal county hit hard by Hurricane Matthew.

A federal judge ruled Friday that residents of Chatham County can sign up to vote in the Nov. 8 election until next Tuesday — a week after the state's registration deadline passed.

Candice Broce is a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Brian Kemp, whose office oversees elections in Georgia. She said in a statement that Kemp's office has sent out an order to county officials to comply with the decision.

A lawsuit to extend the deadline was filed by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The group's president, Kristen Clarke, called the judge's ruling "a victory for the people of Chatham County."

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2:45 p.m.

A federal judge has ordered an extension of the voter registration deadline for one county in coastal Georgia after Hurricane Matthew disrupted the final sign-up days for new voters.

U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled Friday that voters in Savannah and surrounding Chatham County must be allowed to register through next Tuesday.

The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sought an emergency extension after hurricane evacuations caused the Chatham County elections board to close its offices for a six-day period that included Tuesday, the statewide deadline to register.

Gov. Nathan Deal declined to give new voters more time to sign up. Attorneys for the state argued election officials are focused on early voting, which starts Monday, and would be unfairly burdened by registering additional voters.

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12:15 p.m.

A federal judge is weighing an emergency request to extend Georgia's voter registration deadline, which passed while thousands along the coast were evacuated because of Hurricane Matthew.

Attorneys for groups involved in registering voters asked U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. on Friday to order Georgia officials to allow residents of Savannah and surrounding Chatham County — if not the whole state — to register through Oct 18. The statewide deadline to register for the Nov. 8 election was Tuesday.

Lawyers for the state argued an extension would burden election officials now focused on early voting, which starts Monday.

Moore said he would issue a written decision later Friday.

Registration deadlines were extended in Florida and South Carolina because of the hurricane.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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