Florida Judge Denies Motion to Extend Voter Registration Deadline After Website Crashes | Politics

A federal judge on Friday struck down a motion to extend voter registration in Florida by three days after a technical problem on the state’s website that might have prevented as many as thousands of people from casting their votes in the election next month.

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker in his ruling called the decision “an incredibly close call” but said the state’s interest in preventing chaos in its already precarious – and perennially chaotic – election outweighs the substantial burden imposed on the right to vote.”

Cartoons on the 2020 Election

Walker said the court “is not persuaded that an injunction … would not be adverse to the public interest,” adding that the “court is mindful of the potential for voter confusion that could result” from extending the registration deadline.

Despite his ruling, Walker’s decision was filled with criticism of the state.

“This court notes that every man who has stepped foot on the moon launched from the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida. Yet, Florida has failed to figure out how to run an election properly – a task simpler than rocket science,” Walker said.

The decision comes after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis extended the state’s voter registration deadline through 7 p.m. on Tuesday after the state’s website crashed on Monday, the initial deadline. While the deadline was extended, the “cure had at least one major flaw,” Walker said: People weren’t given enough notice of the extension.

Florida’s chief information officer, James Grant, told The Associated Press that the servers for Florida’s voting system “were configured in a way that reduced its capacity to a fraction of a fraction of what it was capable of.”

The secretary of state’s office told AP the system was overloaded by approximately 1.1 million requests per hour. During the peak of

DeSantis Extends Florida Voter Registration Deadline After Website Crashes

Topline

After a Florida voter registration website crashed on the final day residents were eligible to register for the November election, Gov. Ron DeStantis extended the state’s registration deadline by one day, giving Floridians until 7 p.m. Tuesday to enroll to vote.

Key Facts

Unprecedented traffic caused serious delays, malfunctions, error messages and eventually crashed Florida’s voter registration site Monday, just hours before the state’s midnight registration deadline.

The system failure could have potentially prevented thousands from registering to vote in the key battleground state.

DeSantis extended the state’s voter registration deadline to 7 p.m. Tuesday and ordered election offices and DMVs to stay open until 7 p.m. for those residents who want to register to vote in person, according to the Associated Press.

Democrats in the state found the crash suspicious and noted that the system proved to be fragile earlier this year.

Key Background

This marks the fourth time the Florida voting portal has crashed since the site launched in 2017. In 2018 the portal crashed one month before primary day, and one day before voter registration deadline for the general election. The site also crashed in March this year, and was taken down for maintenance just before National Voter Registration Day.

Big Number

1.1 million. That’s how many requests the online voter registration system was receiving per hour Monday evening, according to Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee.

Crucial Quote

This is just [the] latest

Florida Extends Registration Deadline After Voting Website Crashes

MIAMI — Florida’s voter registration website crashed on Monday before the state’s midnight deadline, raising questions about whether the state was prepared for an enormous last-minute influx of voters.

The registration site was experiencing more than a million requests per hour, said state officials, who announced that the deadline for new voter registrations would be extended by a day, through 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said the trouble began at about 5 p.m. on Monday. “It was an inordinate amount of traffic” for about seven hours until midnight, he said. “If 500,000 people descend at the same time, it creates a bottleneck.”

“You can have the best site in the world,” he added. “Sometimes there’s hiccups on it.”

The website gave users error messages and caused delays, prompting some state officials and cybersecurity experts to question whether the website had been targeted by hackers.

Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee, a DeSantis appointee who is the state’s top elections official, alluded to a possible outside attack in a statement on Tuesday.

“We’re exploring all options to ensure that all eligible registrants have the ability to register to vote and will work with our state and federal law-enforcement partners to ensure this was not a deliberate act against the voting process,” she said.

Some cybersecurity analysts said the large influx of requests to the website could have been the result of a denial-of-service attack, in which hackers clog a site with traffic requests until it collapses under the load.

Such a large volume of traffic “could certainly indicate that the election infrastructure was the subject of a DDoS attack,” said Brett Callow, a threat analyst at Emsisoft, using the shorthand for a distributed denial-of-service attack.

Other cybersecurity experts advised caution, noting that a typical denial-of-service attack often generates