SC voters get more time to register to vote after Hurricane Florence

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.A South Carolina court extended the deadline for voters to register before November’s midterm elections after Hurricane Florence disrupted preparations for the election in many parts of the state.

The court’s order would extend the voter registration deadline until the close of business on Oct. 17 throughout the state. All registration applications will need to be received or postmarked by that date.

The deadline otherwise would have been this weekend.

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson filed suit last week to extend the voter registration deadline, arguing the disruption caused by Hurricane Florence created too much of a burden on both voters and county election offices.

The suit created strange bedfellows, as the Republican attorney general — himself seeking re-election in November — found himself on the same side as the American Civil Liberties Union, which sent its own letter to state election officials asking for a delay after Florence rolled over South Carolina last month.

Florence made landfall in the Carolinas Sept. 14 and slowly moved across the Palmetto State for days, causing flooding in many areas of the state. Some communities downstream from areas hit with heavy rainfall were forced to evacuate or limit travel as rivers swollen by the storm made their way to the sea.

Even with the extension, absentee voting is scheduled to begin Monday. That could create de facto same-day voter registration, where a voter could register and vote absentee all in the same day.

That concerns Richland County election director Rokey Suleman.

“We don’t really have the procedures in place to deal with that,” Suleman said. “In 46 counties, you could have 46 slightly different ways of handling it.”