Florida Department of State extends voter registration deadline after website crashes on last day

Florida Department of State extends voter registration deadline after website crashes on last day
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, photo via Gage Skidmore.

Republicans in Florida have been doing everything possible to not allow Floridians to vote in this upcoming election. They've added costs to registration for people convicted of felonies, a "poll tax" by any other name. Activists and other Americans disenfranchised by racism—and very obvious anti-Democracy practices of conservative legislators—have fought tirelessly to ensure more Americans have the right to vote. And at every step, Republicans in power have worked to keep their minority-rule by fighting to rid our Democracy of the fundamental tenet of one person, one vote.

Numerous media sites are now reporting that Florida's online voter registration website—RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov—began crashing throughout the day on Monday—the final day of voter registration for this upcoming November election day. Florida Democratic Party chair Terrie Rizzo told reporters that "This is just latest attempt from the Republican leaders in Florida to limit democracy. The Florida Voter Registration website not working on the last day to register to vote in Florida is blatant voter suppression. Fix the website, stop the suppression, and let democracy work."

A reminder, Florida's online registration system, was taken down for "maintenance" in 2019, by the Republican-controlled state officials, right before National Voter Registration Day.

The website is maintained by the Florida Department of State. At around 6 PM Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee tweeted out "OVR is online and working. Due to high volume, for about 15 minutes, some users experienced delays while trying to register. We have increased capacity. You can register until midnight tonight. Thank you to those who immediately brought this to our attention."

Reporters, including those at the Tampa Bay Times say that the website continued to have serious problems with crashing, and Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani followed that up by tweeting "Voter registration website continues to NOT work for many Floridians. Retweet if you think Florida should extend the voter registration deadline by at least one day!"

On Tuesday morning, Secretary of State Laurel Lee told news outlets that she had met with Gov. Ron DeSantis. She released a statement saying "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. We will be issuing an update as soon as possible." Maybe "as soon as possible" will be after November 3?

Update: The Florida Department of State just announced it will be extending its online voter registration until 7pm tonight!

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