Hurricane victims missed a big week in politics

Hurricane victims missed a big week in politics

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – With four weeks before Election Day, some South Carolinians may have missed the voter registration deadline.

Hurricane Matthew hit the very weekend that voter registration was due in South Carolina. A major impact from the storm were thousands were without power, meaning many missed the second presidential debate on Sunday night and much of the back-and-forth that came both before and after.

"They missed a lot. The Sunday night debate was truly something completely different than usual American politics," said Holley Tankersley, WMBF News' political expert from Coastal Carolina University. 

To sum up the debate, Tankersley used words such as "messy," "disappointing" and "unprecedented."

"I don't know that we've ever seen in a presidential debate, much less a presidential campaign, one candidate basically threatened to jail a political opponent," she said. "Those just don't happen in American democracy, so I can't stress how unusual and abnormal this really is."

Tankersley said though Donald Trump is the one who made the remark that Hillary Clinton would be in jail over her deleted emails if he were president, she added that both candidates were personally attacking one another in Sunday night's town hall-style debate and could have focused a lot more on policy.

For locals, however, missing the debate because of Hurricane Matthew wasn't the biggest issue. The most unfortunate is some may have missed the deadline to make their vote count.

"That is a big deal and, you know, I think a lot of the states' affected governors are considering whether it's the right thing to do to extend that deadline or to make arrangements for individuals who planned to register but have not yet registered," Tankersley said. "Certainly those are going to be considerations in states where the deadline passed during the storm or is pretty soon and the state may not be back to normal for all the folks who need to get registered."

Unfortunately in South Carolina, the online registration date passed Sunday, Oct. 9, despite the extension. For those who were going to mail their registration form in, it must be postmarked with Tuesday's Oct. 11 date.

Now, as the candidates return to affected states to campaign, Tankersley said they may acknowledge Hurricane Matthew.

"Most presidential candidates would use an opportunity like this to not only express their concern and compassion and care for voters in those states, but also an opportunity to talk about policies regarding disaster recovery and emergency management and maybe even environmental issues dealing with rising sea level and that kind of thing," she said. "I don't know that we will see that immediately, but I think over the next few days we might hear candidates and their surrogates discuss those issues."

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