ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal extended the voter registration deadline in four southwest Georgia counties hit by Hurricane Michael.

Deal announced on Monday that the deadline for registering to participate in the Nov. 6 midterm election would be extended to Oct. 16 for residents of Clay, Grady, Randolph, and Turner counties.

His office said that election offices in those counties were forced to close early on the day of the original deadline, Oct. 9, due to the Category 4 hurricane approaching from the Gulf of Mexico.

Deal had declared a state of emergency at 8:45 a.m. on Oct. 9 for most of central and south Georgia ahead of the storm.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is in charge of voter registration and elections in the state, applauded the decision by Deal.

“We have been working together to assess the potential impact of this devastating storm on southwest Georgia, and we decided that an extension of the deadline was the most appropriate course of action,” Kemp said in a statement. “With this extension, we can ensure that citizens in these counties can register to vote or update their voter record in time for the November 6, 2018 election.”

Michael, which was a Category 4 hurricane when it came ashore in Florida, entered Georgia as a Category 3 and later weakened to a tropical storm as it headed for the Carolinas.

But its high winds and pounding rains left downed trees and power outages behind.

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