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Deadline extension saw hundreds of registered voters in Collier

Posted at 6:25 PM, Oct 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-18 18:25:28-04

The deadline to register to vote in the November general election passed at 5 p.m. Tuesday, after a week-long extension was granted due to Hurricane Matthew. Collier County Supervisor of Elections Jennifer Edwards said that over 500 voters in her county took advantage of the extra week.

"There's so much news about the presidential election...I think it reminds people, 'oh yeah, I want to vote in this one,'" Edwards said.

Melissa Kwit brought her son Nathaniel, a first-time voter, on the last day of the extended deadline.

"He has college and works full-time, so for him to have the additional opportunity for the time to vote was important to us," Kwit said. "I'm also happy for the people who were affected by the hurricane."

When Hurricane Matthew forced east coast Floridians to evacuate, Governor Rick Scott said that he wouldn't extend the registration deadline. A federal judge overruled that decision after the Florida Democratic Party filed a lawsuit against the governor to extend the deadline.

Many people in Collier County taking advantage of the deadline said that it was their schedules, not the hurricane, that made them wait.

"I just work full-time, very busy schedule," said Lorena Cooper. "But it's definitely an important thing to make sure you take care of."

First-time voter Jerome Bernard needed a little more convincing. 

"My mom talked me into it," Bernard admitted. "Every citizen has the right to vote, so I mean, why not?"

Edwards said that her staff will still be busy now that the deadline has passed, since early voting begins Monday.