The Florida government extended Ron Desantis’ state voter registration deadline Tuesday, crashing the state’s online system, causing huge traffic to go unchecked and unexplained online, preventing thousands of people from registering to vote in next month’s presidential election.
The EDT extended DeSantis’ Monday deadline to 7 p.m., Tuesday night. In addition to online registration, Desantis has directed election, motor vehicle and tax collection offices to be open until 7pm local time for anyone wishing to register in person.
“You have the best site in the world, but sometimes there are also hiccups,” Desantis told a news conference at The Villages, a large retirement community in central Florida. “If 500,000 people get off at the same time, it will create an obstacle.”
The state is investigating why its voter registration system crashed Monday, which will not be explained immediately in the unexpectedly heavy traffic closing hours.
Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee, who oversees the voting system, said Monday that the online registration system had “accessed an unprecedented 1.1 million requests per hour” in the last few hours.
“We are exploring all options to ensure that all eligible registrars have the ability to register to vote and will work with our state and federal law enforcement partners to ensure that this is not a deliberate act against the voting process,” Lee said in a statement. “We will release the update as soon as possible.”
Lee tweeted on Monday that some users were about 15 minutes late trying to register due to high volume, but their capacity had increased.
The civil rights group is threatening to file a lawsuit if the governor does not extend the deadline. The civil rights committee of lawyers said the breakup would unjustly lose thousands of casting ballots for the president and other offices.
“We don’t stand idly by,” said group president Kristen Clark. She said the group had filed a lawsuit against Virginia in 2016 after the computer system crashed prematurely, winning an extension that would allow thousands of additional voters to register.
Democrats across the state have been pushing for the deadline to be extended.
“Not planning for voter registration increase is voter repression. Ensuring that everyone who wants to register can do so is voter repression. Failure to extend the deadline is voter repression. @GovRonDeSantis & @FLSecofState, you have to extend the deadline” .
“This is the latest attempt by Republican leaders in Florida to limit democracy. Florida voter registration website not working on last day to register to vote in Florida. Vague voter repression. Fix website, stop repression and let democracy work,” said a Democratic Democratic Party chairman.
“The complete incompetence of the government in allowing the state voter registration website to crash on the last day to register for the upcoming November elections is, sadly, completely unreliable,” said U.S. Republican Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “His administrative buffoonery has telegraphed today’s executive inefficiency in managing the state’s unemployment system. However, this particular mistake reveals the governor’s persistent pattern of infamous voter repression.”
Florida State University student Sarah Dinkins tried to help her sister register Monday night. They started trying at 9pm and were unsuccessful by 10:30 pm.
“I was very disappointed,” she said. “If the voting website does not work, fewer Democratic voters will be able to vote.”
This is not the first major computer shutdown that has affected the state government this year. For weeks on end in the spring, tens of thousands of Floridians who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus epidemic could not file for unemployment benefits because that high computer system repeatedly crashed, delaying their payments. Desantis replaced the director who oversees the system, but blamed his predecessor, fellow Republican Rick Scott, for the problems he now has as a U.S. senator.
What NBC 6’s Julia Bagh officials are saying after some mention that some people may have had their registration denied due to issues.