WASHINGTON ― Hillary Clinton’s campaign is calling on officials in Florida to extend the state’s voter registration deadline because of Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 storm that is barreling toward the Atlantic coast and threatening to cause severe damage.
“We’re hoping and expecting that officials in Florida are adapting deadlines to account for the storm,” Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said Thursday in call with reporters.
Voters in Florida currently have until Oct. 11 to register to vote, either in person or by mail.
Calling the threat of the advancing storm “catastrophic,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) urged some 1.5 million people to evacuate. As of Thursday morning, more than 3,000 people were being housed in 60 shelters across the state. President Barack Obama has also declared a state of emergency there.
Mook said the Clinton campaign is using its various social media channels to alert Florida residents about warnings from local officials regarding the storm. The campaign is also prioritizing the safety of its staff and volunteers, he added.
“We’ll get back to our campaigning when it is appropriate,” he said.
The campaign for GOP nominee Donald Trump also released a statement Thursday, urging Florida residents to heed warnings from local officials.
“These warnings are very, very serious ― if your home is in the path of the hurricane and you are being advised to leave, you need to do so right now. Nothing is more important than the safety of your family,” Trump said in the statement.
Although campaign staffers told reporters they were worried about the impact the hurricane might have on the election in its call with reporters, they were also optimistic about early voting in the state.
Mook said that a record number ― 2.7 million ― of Floridians have already requested to vote by mail, a 50 percent increase compared to the 2012 election. Furthermore, Mook added that Democrats are “on most days” submitting more requests for mail-in ballots than Republicans.
Even more importantly for Democrats, vote-by-mail-requests increased by 77 percent among Hispanics in Florida when compared to the 2012 election.
Clinton currently edges Trump by just two points in Florida, according to the HuffPost Pollster polling average.