While the national media on Friday joined Hillary Clinton’s crusade to force Florida Governor Rick Scott to extend voter registration in the state in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, anchors and reporters forgot to mention that such a move would actually be illegal under Florida law.
In a Thursday article, while joining his press colleagues in warning that the severe storm could have “devastating consequences” for the November election, Slate’s Richard Hasen actually managed to report some key facts about Florida election law:
Even if Scott gives in and does extend those deadlines, he could be sued on the basis that such an extension is illegal, because it usurps the power of the Florida legislature to set the rules for presidential elections. Florida law gives the governor the power to delay an election, but apparently not to extend registration dates or make other election changes. Any changes in election rules by election administrators, the governor, or courts could be found to be illegal if not passed by the Florida legislature.
<<< Please consider helping NewsBusters financially with your tax-deductible contribution today >>>
<<< Thank you for your support! >>>
One of the arguments Clinton’s media allies used on Friday to ramp up pressure on Scott was that South Carolina extended its voter registration deadline due to the storm. On ABC’s Good Morning America, former Clinton staffer George Stephanopoulos pressed the governor: “The state of South Carolina has extended voting registration because so many lives have been disrupted. Why won’t you do that?”
Beyond the fact that South Carolina has different election laws than Florida, none of the network morning shows actually mentioned the date to which South Carolina was extending its deadline. In the midst of whining about Scott’s refusal to comply with the Clinton campaign demand, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Friday, co-host Mika Brzezinski left the information slip: “South Carolina officials extended their voter registration deadline from October 8th to October 11th.”
The significance of that date is that October 11th is the same day of Florida’s current voter registration deadline. Why would Tuesday be too soon for Florida voters to register, but plenty of time for South Carolina voters to register? Especially since both states are dealing with a major natural disaster at the same time.
Perhaps the fact that Hillary Clinton has little chance of winning South Carolina but desperately wants to win Florida may be a factor in the media calculation.