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Florida voter registration deadline extended to 7 p.m. Tuesday after website problems Monday night

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Posted at 12:21 PM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 12:40:38-04

TAMPA, Fla.-- Florida's deadline to register to vote in next month's General Election has been extended to Tuesday at 7 p.m. after problems with the website Monday night.

RECOMMENDED: Floridians experienced delays on online voter registration page due to high volume, state secretary says

“This morning I met with Governor DeSantis to brief him on the status of the online voter registration system and the difficulties we encountered last night due to unprecedented volume and traffic to our website. 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,” said Secretary Laurel M. Lee. “During the last few hours, the RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov website was accessed by an unprecedented 1.1 million requests per hour. We will work with our state and federal law-enforcement partners to ensure this was not a deliberate act against the voting process.”

Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer told ABC Action News they had over 3,000 paper applications turned in to his four offices in Hillsborough County Monday. Latimer thinks extending the deadline was the right call.

"It was the right thing to do," said Latimer. "People need to trust what we tell them and also need to be able to utilize the resources that we give them to register to vote and to vote, so it's a trust issue all the way around.”

Latimer sent a letter to Governor Ron DeSantis on behalf of the Florida Supervisors of Elections asking that the state extend the voter registration deadline to accommodate people who couldn't get through to the online system because of the website's problems. Latimer wants people to also plan ahead for how they're going to vote for the General Election.

"Take advantage of it," said Latimer. "This is an opportunity if you got shut out yesterday, they’re trying to right it, correct it, so take the time to do it. It's an easy process."

Luz Quic of Clermont said she and her husband tried for hours to get through the registration process online with no luck. When they found out about the extension Tuesday afternoon, Quic says she planned to quickly work and get her application in.

"Go ahead and fill it out. I guess we have until 7pm so its your right," said Quic. "It’s your right to vote, so just go ahead and go and register.”

The state says any applications received on Florida’s Online Voter Registration system today, October 6, 2020, will be included in the registration for the November 3, 2020, General Election. Additionally, any applications received through the following channels TODAY will also be accepted:

  • County Supervisors of Elections Offices
  • Local Tax Collector’s Offices
  • Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Driver’s License Offices
  • Paper applications postmarked by today, October 6, 2020

Governor DeSantis and Secretary Lee will be working with these offices to discuss the availability of extending their office hours today to further assist potential voter registrants, officials say.

“Last night, we experienced an extremely high volume of traffic to the Online Voter Registration System,” said Secretary Lee. “If you are NOT registering to vote, we ask that you do your part for your fellow Floridians and please do not try to access RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov during this time and drive up traffic to the site.”

If you have any questions, please reach out to the Division of Elections’ Voter Assistance Hotline at 1.866.308.6739 (in English and Español). If you are hearing or speech impaired, please contact the Division using the Florida Relay Service, 1.800.955.8771 (TDD), 1.800.955.8770 (Voice), or 1.877.955.8773 (Español).