TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Congresswoman Kathy Castor, who represents the Tampa Bay area, says issues with Florida’s online voter registration system that forced the registration deadline to be extended are a “black eye” on both the state and the governor.
The voter registration deadline in Florida was initially midnight on Monday, Oct. 5. But issues with the online voter registration system prompted the secretary of state to extend the deadline until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
Secretary of State Laurel Lee said the problem was so many people trying to access the website at once. But Rep. Castor (D-FL) said the state should have been prepared for that happening.
“Unfortunately there were folks who did procrastinate but we know that happens routinely when you set a deadline and the State of Florida should have been ready for a flood of voters in this very energized election year,” she said.
Lee reopened voter registration for seven hours on Tuesday – from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. – despite calls from Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried to extend the deadline by 24 hours. Rep. Castor said it should have been extended for “at least a couple of days.”
Republican Rep. Greg Steube, who also represents parts of the Tampa Bay area, indicated in a statement that seven hours was enough time.
“I appreciate the governor’s office and their diligence to ensure that every Florida voter has an opportunity to vote securely and on time,” he said.
The Department of State started working with law enforcement on Tuesday to make sure the issues with the site weren’t “a deliberate act against the voting process.”
“At this time, we have not identified any evidence of interference or malicious activity impacting the site,” she said Tuesday night. “We will continue to monitor the situation and provide any additional information as it develops.”
Castor called Monday night’s website issues a “black eye” for Gov. Ron DeSantis and the State of Florida.
“I mean, this comes on the heels of a very questionable coronavirus strategy and another failed website for unemployed Floridians,” she said. “So for this website to crash as well is just a real black eye for Governor DeSantis. And it makes you wonder who’s competent in Tallahassee these days. Who’s checking on these very important fundamental pieces of infrastructure to keep Florida’s economy and electoral system going?”
Rep. Castor also told Nexstar DC correspondent Kellie Meyer she read a classified report on Capitol Hill last week that “did raise some questions” about the electoral system in Florida.
“But I trust them – I trust my local Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer, I trust our supervisors,” the congresswoman said. “But we need to be vigilant and this is an indication maybe Governor DeSantis and his administration are not being as vigilant as they should.”
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