Florida extends voter registration deadline after website crash

Registration will be open until 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis extended the voter registration deadline on Tuesday after heavy traffic caused the state’s online sign-up portal to crash just hours before the original deadline was set to expire.

Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee, a Republican, said the registration would be open until 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday – an extension of seven hours from the original deadline of 12 p.m. ET. The secretary of state said the directive was in response to “difficulties we encountered last night” due to “unprecedented volume and traffic to our website.”

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“During the last few hours, the RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov website was accessed by an unprecedented 1.1 million requests per hour,” Lee said in a statement. “We will work with our state and federal law-enforcement partners to ensure this was not a deliberate act against the voting process.”

The registration deadline was extended after pressure from state Democrats, including Nikki Fried, Florida's commissioner of agriculture and consumer services. Fried shared a screenshot of an error message on the registration website from Monday night and referred to the situation as “unacceptable.”

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Lee’s office said other methods of registration would be acceptable, including applications filed through county election offices, tax collector’s offices, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Driver’s License offices and physical applications postmarked by Oct. 6.

Florida is considered a key battleground state in the upcoming presidential election. An average of the latest swing state polls compiled by Real Clear Politics showed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with a slight edge over President Trump in the state. Trump won Florida in 2016.