ATLANTA – As Hurricane Matthew barrels toward the Georgia coastline, Common Cause Georgia is calling upon Governor Nathan Deal to extend the state’s voter registration deadline in an effort to ensure that Georgians affected by the storm will still have an opportunity to cast their ballots in November. Georgia’s voter registration deadline is Tuesday, October 11, 2016 – only a handful of days after Hurricane Matthew is expected to make landfall on the Georgia coastline late this evening.
“While the first priority is the safety and security of Georgia’s coastal residents, with only 31 days until Election Day and four days until the state’s voter registration deadline, we cannot ignore the potentially detrimental impacts that this storm will have on the electoral process,” said Common Cause Executive Director Brinkley Serkedakis. “Hurricane Matthew is projected to create a potentially huge loss of property in coastal Georgia, and – in the worst case scenarios – a possible loss of lives. Today, we ask Governor Deal to help us ensure that the citizens who are affected by the storm do not also lose their right to vote in November.”
A state of emergency has been declared in 30 Georgia counties, and six of those counties – Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty, and McIntosh counties – are under mandatory evacuation orders. Hurricane Matthew is expected to disrupt mail service in most of these communities over the next several days, causing massive delays in the processing of paper voter registration applications.
“While the Secretary of State’s online voter registration system will remain operational, it is unlikely that Georgians who have been forced to leave their homes will have the necessary resources – personal computers and WiFi coverage – to access the state’s voter registration website,” said Serkedakis.
“Based on data from previous presidential elections, we know that many individuals will wait until the last possible minute to register to vote,” said Serkedakis. “It is critically important that each and every Georgian have the opportunity to make their voices heard in this historic election – and we urge Governor Deal to take immediate action in extending the state’s voter registration deadline.”
Common Cause is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity, and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.