Florida governor extends voter registration after site crash
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis extended the state’s voter registration deadline Tuesday after he said heavy traffic crashed the state’s online system and potentially prevented thousands of enrolling to cast ballots in next month’s presidential election. Several progressive groups are suing for an additional extension.
DeSantis extended the deadline that expired Monday until 7 p.m. Tuesday. In addition to online registration, DeSantis ordered elections, motor vehicle and tax collectors offices to stay open until that hour for anyone who wanted to register in person. He also said any forms postmarked by Tuesday would be accepted.
Voting and minority rights groups responded with a federal lawsuit, saying the confusion required more time, but DeSantis disagreed, saying the seven-hour outage required a comparable extension. The problems began about 5 p.m. Monday and continued until the midnight deadline.
“You can have the best site in the world, but sometimes there are hiccups,” DeSantis said during a press conference at The Villages, a large retirement community in central Florida. “If 500,000 people descend at the same time, it creates a bottleneck.”
Dream Defenders, New Florida Majority, Organize Florida, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and others filed their lawsuit in Tallahassee, saying at least two additional days were needed to give those denied access enough time to learn of the extension and respond. They said that anything less would be voter suppression.
“No voter should be denied their right to vote during a global health pandemic because Florida did not have a functioning online voter registration system,” said Jorge Vasquez, power and democracy director at Advancement Project National Office, one of the suing groups. No hearing was immediately set.
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