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

DeSantis, Florida election chief considering voter registration deadline after website failures

TALLAHASSEE – Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee are considering extending the voter registration deadline after the state’s website errors and glitches on Monday, the last day to register before the general election.

“This morning I met with Governor DeSantis to brief him on the status of the online voter registration system and the challenges we encountered last night due to unprecedented volume and traffic to our website,” Lee said in a prepared statement.

Lee also said her department, which oversees elections, was working to make sure the errors were an honest mistake and not an attack on the system.

“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,” Lee said.

The errors and glitches prompted Democrats to call on DeSantis to extend the deadline.

“The deadline exists for a reason — and it is the right of every person in Florida who chooses to register to vote, to do so up until that deadline,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried stated in a letter to DeSantis asking him to extend the deadline by at least 24 hours.

DeSantis spokesman Fred Piccolo posted on Twitter than an announcement related to voter registration would be “coming soon.” DeSantis is scheduled to appear at an event in The Villages at noon Tuesday.

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.

grohrer@orlandosentinel.com

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