Florida extends voter registration by 7 hours amid website crash

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Florida Vote
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

With the election only 28 days away, Tuesday marked the deadline for voter registration in 13 states, including Florida.

But, the sunshine state announced an extension for registration after the state’s online portal crashed amid heavy traffic flow.

Registration will remain open for an additional seven hours, from noon until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Secretary of State Laurel Lee said in a written statement, according to Politico.

Lee met with Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday to review the issues with the registration portal. In a written statement, she said the site’s failure appeared to be connected to “unprecedented volume and traffic” and that her office will “work with our state and federal law-enforcement partners to ensure that this was not a deliberate act against the voting process.”

The portal originally went down Monday afternoon, just hours before the midnight deadline for registering. Democrats called the crash a deliberate effort to suppress registration ahead of the November election, Politico reports.

With both candidates doing everything in their power to win over the key swing state before the election, voter turnout is expected to be high.

Florida’s decision to extend its voter registration comes one day after a federal judge extended the Monday registration deadline in Arizona until October 23, saying that the coronavirus pandemic impacted face-to-face voter registration efforts and many people in the state lacked access to the internet.

In a tweet Monday evening, Lee said the portal had originally gone down for 15 minutes, but the problem continued throughout the evening.

As a result, several organizations, including the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, asked the state to extend their voter registration for those whose ability to register was impacted by the crash.

According to Politico, nearly 213,000 Floridians have used the portal to register this year, making the site’s traffic second to the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

While the site crashing on the last day of registration may come as a shock, this isn’t the first time something of the sort has occurred in the sunshine state.

Potential voters had problems accessing the site in March, and in 2019, the site was temporarily taken offline for maintenance ahead of National Voter Registration Day.

With the election quickly approaching, and both candidates yearning to win over the nation’s largest swing state, extending voter registration by 7 hours will ultimately play a large role in who takes the cake.