Investigation underway after programming issue causes widespread voting delays in Fort Bend County

The lines are long for early voting at every polling location in Fort Bend County early Tuesday, but it’s not just because of the increased turnout.

Fort Bend County voters face obstacles as early voting begins Tuesday

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County officials are working to fix a technical glitch that prevented the polls from opening at their scheduled time of 8 a.m. 

County leaders said the machines didn’t have today’s date programmed so they wouldn’t work when the polls opened.

“They were not programmed to start this morning. And that had to be reprogrammed,” Fort Bend County District Attorney Brian Middleton said. 

He said they are investigating whether it was intentional, but said it could be because they’re using “state-of-the-art machines” for only the second time.

The delays came on the first day of early voting.

“I was extremely disappointed with the technical issues,” In a tweet just after 9 a.m., County Judge KP George. “Those who are responsible will be held accountable. In an era voter where suppression is real, I will authorize a full investigation and call for accountability.”

INTERACTIVE MAP: Where you can vote early in Fort Bend County

Many voters from Sugar Land to Missouri City told KHOU 11 they lined up extra early to vote and stood in line for nearly two hours before being told the polls were not opening on time.

Beto O’Rourke tweeted photos of an elderly man with a

I’m a software engineer at Uber and I’m voting against Prop 22

I’ve been a software engineer at Uber for two years, and I’ve also been a ride-hail driver. I regularly drove for Lyft in college, and while my day job involves writing code for the Uber Android app, I still make deliveries for app-based companies on my bike to understand the state of the gig economy.

These experiences have made me realize a crucial factor in the gig economy: Uber works because it’s cheap and it’s quick. The instant gratification when we book a ride and a car shows up only minutes later gives us a sense of control. It’s the most convenient thing in the world to go to your friend’s house, the grocery store or the airport at the click of a button.

But it’s become clear to me that this is only possible because countless drivers are spending their personal time sitting in their cars, waiting to pick up a ride, completely unpaid. Workers are subsidizing the product with their free labor.

I’ve decided to speak out against my employer because I know what it’s like to work with no benefits. Before joining Uber, I worked a range of low-wage jobs from customer service at Disneyland to delivering pizza with no benefits. Uber is one of several large companies bankrolling California’s Proposition 22. They’ve now contributed $47.5 million dollars to the campaign. At work, management tells us that passing Prop 22 is for the best because it is critical for the company’s bottom line. Yet, a corporation’s bottom line will not and should not influence my vote.

Uber claims Prop 22 would be good for drivers, but that depends on Uber the company treating drivers better. I know from my experience working as an Uber engineer there is a slim chance of that happening. At the beginning of

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

Florida’s voting website crashed repeatedly in the hours before Monday’s registration deadline, leading to accusations of voter suppression.

Florida’s voter registration website crashed on Monday, giving users error messages and causing delays, after an “unprecedented” number of people tried to register before the state’s midnight deadline.

Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee, the state’s top elections official, who was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said on Tuesday that she had briefed the governor on the “challenges we encountered last night.”

“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,” Ms. Lee said in a statement.

She first acknowledged slowdowns with the website on Monday evening. “Due to high volume, for about 15 minutes, some users experienced delays while trying to register,” Ms. Lee wrote on Twitter. “We have increased capacity.”

On Monday night, as the technical problems continued, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the Campaign Legal Center sent a letter demanding that the deadline be extended until midnight on Tuesday.

“Otherwise, we may be forced to consider other legal remedies,” the groups wrote.

Florida has faced similar problems with its voter registration system before. Monday’s issues led Democrats to accuse the state, which also has a Republican-controlled Legislature, of voter suppression.

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Broward County, blamed the “utter incompetence” of Mr. DeSantis, whose administration faced a crisis this year with the collapse of its online unemployment benefits system amid the pandemic.

“This particular blunder intimates a continuing pattern of voter suppression that the governor has become notorious for,” Ms. Wasserman Schultz said. “The governor must immediately extend the registration deadline to make up for all the voters he’s disenfranchised.”

Voting rights groups urge Florida to extend voter registration deadline after website issues

A number of voting rights groups are calling for Florida’s voter registration cutoff to be extended after the state’s registration portal experienced outages in the hours before the deadline.



graphical user interface: Some users encountered error messages when trying to access Florida's voter registration website, RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov, in the hours before the 2020 general election deadline.


© [Allison Ross | Times]/Tampa Bay Times/TNS
Some users encountered error messages when trying to access Florida’s voter registration website, RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov, in the hours before the 2020 general election deadline.

Some Floridians attempting to access RegistertovoteFlorida.gov found slow responses or error messages on Monday evening, with some reports on social media of people attempting for hours to register to vote.

Florida’s deadline to register in order to be eligible to vote in the 2020 general election was midnight Monday. Paper applications that were mailed in had to be postmarked by Monday.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the ACLU of Florida and the Campaign Legal Center sent a letter on Monday night to Brad McVay, the Florida Department of State’s general counsel, pushing for the deadline to be extended until midnight Tuesday.

“We are contemplating further action,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee, when asked for an update Tuesday morning. “We are prepared to use every tool in our arsenal to stand up for voters impacted.”

A spokesman for the Department of State, which manages the website, has not yet responded to two voicemails and an email sent Monday evening and Tuesday morning asking for more information about what happened with the website and whether the deadline would be extended.

Brad Ashwell, Florida state director of voting rights group All Voting is Local, said his organization was hearing reports well into Monday night that there were problems with the voter registration website. Ashwell said different groups are debating how long to ask for the deadline to be extended. He noted that there would