FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 7, 2016
Washington, D.C. – As states brace for the impact of Hurricane Matthew, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law continues to focus on ensuring that all voters have access to the ballot during the 2016 election cycle.
“Officials in states that have imposed mandatory evacuation orders as a result of Hurricane Matthew must take action to relax registration deadlines and early voting rules to ensure that all voters and would-be voters are able to participate this election cycle,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Hurricane Matthew comes at a critical moment in the election season with registration deadlines looming in a number of impacted states. Evacuation orders ensure public safety but make it more difficult to register and vote. Our experience during Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy make clear that natural disasters stand to disrupt our electoral process, and action must be taken to safeguard minority voting rights.”
Given that many of the counties impacted by Hurricane Matthew have significant numbers of African American, Latino and other minority voters, it is important that election officials take action to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act.