THE VILLAGES, Fla. - An uproar on social media and state officials caused the voter registration deadline to be extended in Florida until 7 p.m. Tuesday night.
“The onus is on the state to have a working website,” said Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
The debate was caused by the state’s voter registration website crashing Monday night, during the final hours of voter registration.
DEADLINES & DETAILS: VOTING IN FLORIDA 2020: Tampa Bay area election guide
Tuesday morning, Secretary of State Laura Lee and Governor Ron DeSantis announced the deadline to register would be extended.
That deadline includes online registration too. But if you register in-person Tuesday before 7 o’clock, you can do so, at several offices.
“The DMVs will remain open until 7 p.m. so you can do it in person,” said DeSantis. “The secretary of state has required supervisor of elections offices to remain open until 7 p.m., and then we’re also asking the tax collectors offices to stay open until 7 o’clock.”
Those who want to register can head over to RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov.
Commissioner Fried, the state’s highest-ranking elected Democrat, is pleased with the extension, but still has concerns. The first of which, is that there should have been a heads up for voters.
“It was announced in the middle of a workday, and we have so many who are in the middle of work,” Fried said. “Teachers that are in school, that after work have a routine – whether it’s picking up family members or going for dinner. By the time they may receive notice about the extension, they may have missed the deadline again.”
She also has concerns with the security of the system, something political analyst Susan MacManus echoed.
“According to one account, they received 1.1 million requests for registration, every hour,” MacManus said. “That’s a really big overload, considering that we only have 14 million for the whole state registered, so I think that’s a little scary.”
Secretary Lee says they are working to ensure this was not a deliberate act against the voting process, and working with state and federal law enforcement.
“1.1 million an hour is not a slowdown,” MacManus said. “That’s an occasion to where it’s super overload, and the system cracks.”
Commissioner Fried is hoping something is done about the “crashing” of the online system.
“Unfortunately, these are things that have been happening on the website for years,” she said. “It happened in 2018, it happened around the presidential primaries this year. This could have been predicted, and could have been fixed prior to yesterday.”
LINK: Those who want to register can head over to RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov.
A civil rights group had threatened to sue if the governor did not extend the deadline. The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said the breakdown would unjustly deprive thousands of casting ballots for president and other offices. Kristen Clarke, the group's president, said the group sued Virginia in 2016 after its computer system crashed just before the deadline, winning an extension that allowed thousands of additional voters to register.