The early voting period is being extended in Florida counties devastated by Hurricane Michael.

Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order Thursday outlining some of the changes to voting rules in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Liberty, and Washington counties.

In addition to allowing those counties' Supervisors of Elections to extend the number of days of early voting, other voting rules changes in those counties include:

  • Adding early voting locations
  • Expediting the delivery and acceptance of vote-by-mail ballots
  • Early voting can begin as early as October 22 and can extend through November 6
  • Extending the registration date for poll watchers to noon October 26
  • Waiving the restriction on vote-by-mail ballots being forwarded to a different address
  • Waiving provisions so that voters in those counties can more easily get a mail ballot

Under Florida law, Scott could have postponed the general election beyond November 6, but there's is an open legal question on whether that authority would extend to federal races.

"The Department shares the Governor’s commitment to ensuring that all registered voters from counties devastated by Hurricane Michael are able to exercise their right to vote safely and securely in the upcoming General Election," Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner said in a statement. 

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.