With Hurricane Matthew poised to disrupt the final few days of voter registration along the southern coast of Florida, the Hillary Clinton campaign asked the state’s Republican governor, Rick Scott, to extend the registration deadline in affected areas.
Scott, predictably, refused.
“Everybody has had a lot of time to register,” Scott, a Republican and staunch Donald Trump supporter, said Thursday night. “On top of that, we’ve got lots of opportunities to vote: Early voting, absentee voting and Election Day. So I don’t intend to make any changes.”
There’s been a lot of head-scratching over the past several weeks about what conservatives mean when they claim to be #NeverTrump. Some clearly mean Trump must not become president, consequences be damned. Others mean they, personally, can’t support him, but remain vague about what that implies beyond their own anti-Trump intentions in the voting booth.
Rick Scott’s decision presented #NeverTrump conservatives with a clear and cost-free opportunity to flesh out their Trump opposition, but seemingly every one of them has taken a pass.
Voter registrations tend to surge ahead of deadlines. In Florida alone, 50,000 people registered in the days leading up to the deadline four years ago. Many of those displaced by the hurricane this year who haven’t already registered will now be unable to meet the October 11 deadline, which means some significant number of adults who intended to vote will be disenfranchised. As we learned in 2000, numbers like these can be decisive, not just in Florida, but for the whole election.
Scott suggested he could theoretically extend the deadline a few days if he so desired, but has chosen not to. If “never” means “never,” and not just “you vote for Trump so I don’t have to,” condemning Scott here is a freebie, and the right thing to do. Basically nobody on the right took the occasion to do so.