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.”
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – On Monday, the last day to register to vote in the November General Election, the state’s voter registration website crashed hours before the deadline.
Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz have called on Governor Ron DeSantis to extend the deadline.
“The utter incompetence of Gov. Ron DeSantis in allowing the state’s voter registration website to crash on the very last day to register for the upcoming November election is, sadly, completely believable. His administrative buffoonery in operating the state’s unemployment system telegraphed today’s executive ineptitude,” said Wasserman Schultz in a statement. “However, this particular blunder intimates a continuing pattern of voter suppression that the governor has become notorious for. The governor must immediately extend the registration deadline to make up for all the voters he’s disenfranchised.”
Fried posted on Twitter that the website crash was unacceptable.
Not planning for a voter registration surge is voter suppression.
Not ensuring everyone who wants to register can do so is voter suppression.
— Nikki Fried (@nikkifried) October 6, 2020
“We are fighting for a voter registration extension for those who want to register to vote, but don’t wait until the last minute. The fight for America is on the ballot. Please make sure you have a voting plan. If you mail in your ballot, do it early and track it online. If you plan to vote in-person, remember, the best way to protect yourself is to follow my Be Smart Florida initiative — keep social distance, wash your hands, and wear a mask when you vote,” said Fried in a statement.
Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee tweeted out just before 6 p.m. the site experienced