Florida extended by one day the voter registration deadline in this year’s 2020 general election following problems Monday night with the state’s online registration system that are now under investigation.
The original deadline to register to vote had been midnight Monday. But as that deadline neared, users encountered slow responses and error messages on the voter registration site, RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov. The deadline was extended for online, in person or by mail.
Across the state, DMV offices, election offices and tax collection offices remained open until 7 p.m. for those who intend to register in person.
Registrations sent by mail will be accepted if they are postmarked on Tuesday, said Gov. DeSantis.
“They’re investigating some of the issues that led to it, but it was an inordinate amount of traffic," DeSantis said of Monday's website crash. “You also will be able to postmark a registration today. It will be accepted if it's postmarked [on Tuesday].”
Numerous voting rights groups had called for Florida’s voter registration cutoff to be extended multiple days, but so far the state has declined to accommodate the request.
On Tuesday, a coalition of voting rights groups, including the League of Women Voters of Florida, All Voting is Local Florida, ACLU Florida and the Florida NAACP, sent a letter to DeSantis and the Secretary of Elections, demanding that the voter registration deadline be extended two days, until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7.
“Florida’s online voter registration system has unfortunately broken repeatedly at precisely the moment it is needed most – the high volume days just before the voter registration deadline, or in this case, just hours before the book closing deadline,” the groups’ letter said.
The coalition also asked in the letter that the state use social media, TV, radio and other channels to communicate about any extension to the voter registration deadline, and that it extend its technical support hotline for voters through any new deadline.
It said multiple organizations have asked the state for years about the security and stability of the online voter registration system. It noted that All Voting Is Local had asked the state to use an independent vendor to stress-test the system.
Monday is not the first time the state has had glitches with its voter registration website and groups have been warning state officials for months about adequately planning the influx of last minute registrations.