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Florida Governor Extends Deadline After Voter Registration Site Crashes

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, seen here in July, has extended the voter registration deadline by a day after the state's online portal crashed Monday.
Saul Loeb
/
AFP via Getty Images
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, seen here in July, has extended the voter registration deadline by a day after the state's online portal crashed Monday.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has extended the state's deadline for Floridians to register to vote after the state's registration website crashed due to a heavy volume of traffic.

The new deadline to register is 7 p.m. Tuesday.

In a statement, Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee said the state's online registration portal experienced "unprecedented volume and traffic" of 1.1 million requests an hour Monday evening.

"We are working with local Supervisors of Elections and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to ensure that all eligible registrants have the ability submit a voter registration application by 7:00 p.m. this evening," 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," she added.

The crash, which sparked outrage from Democrats, could have prevented thousands of potential voters from being able to participate in the Nov. 3 general election.

The outage comes as the state is once again highly competitive in this fall's presidential race. Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigned Monday in Miami.

On Tuesday, a coalition of voting rights groups filed a lawsuit against DeSantis and Lee to extend the registration deadline further by at least two days, arguing that the one-day extension isn't sufficient to educate voters that they're able to try to register again.

"Florida's OVR system has a history of malfunctioning and crashing in advance of major deadlines like the last day of registration before a major election," said Stephanie Porta, executive director of Organize Florida.

"In the midst of a global health pandemic, Floridians should not be denied the right to vote because the Secretary of State can't properly update and maintain a website."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.