Judges extend voter deadlines for counties hit hard by Hurricane Matthew

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Judges in Georgia and North Carolina on Friday ordered state election officials to extend voter-registration deadlines in some counties due to disruptions caused by Hurricane Matthew, which forced thousands of people to evacuate and temporarily closed some government offices.

The judges’ rulings came after Georgia’s governor and North Carolina’s state board of elections’ executive director had declined to extend the deadlines.

In Georgia, U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled residents of Chatham County, which includes Savannah, must be allowed to register through next Tuesday, Oct. 18 — a week after the original deadline passed.

“Extending a small degree of common courtesy by allowing impacted individuals a few extra days to register to vote seems like a rather small consolation on behalf of their government,” Moore wrote in his order.

In North Carolina, a state judge ordered election officials to extend the deadline in 36 eastern counties of the state because of disruptions caused by Hurricane Matthew.

Both orders came in response to lawsuits filed by several groups.

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