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Deadline extension gives Floridians extra time to register for November election


Secretary of State: Preliminary investigation finds no website interference, malicious activity:

TAMPA (WFLA) – With four weeks to go until Election Night, your chance to register to vote is now over.

After a Florida Secretary of State website meltdown documented by 8 On Your Side on Monday, the state provided an extra seven hours Tuesday for hopeful voters who hit roadblocks online.

Some Tampa Bay residents took advantage of that deadline extension until 7 p.m., such as the family that brought the website glitches to 8 On Your Side’s attention.

“It was a breeze once we got in, it was very simple,” a viewer from Pinellas County said Tuesday evening.

He said he had a much smoother experience helping his 23-year-old stepdaughter register to vote compared to be before the original midnight deadline on Monday.

“We tried every hour on the hour unsuccessfully and right before midnight we got a very strange that says we were good, Miami was good and the host was bad,” the viewer, who asked to remain anonymous, said.

Working with state and federal law enforcement, Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee said Tuesday night they “have not identified any evidence of interference or malicious activity impacting the site.”

Governor Ron DeSantis addressed the voter registration website problems during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

“They’re investigating some of the issues that kind of led to it,” he said. “There was an inordinate amount of traffic.”

According to Lee, the state’s top elections official, the website had an unprecedented 1.1 million requests per hour.

Lee tweeted just before 6 p.m. Monday that the website delays were fixed after 15 minutes, but that’s not what 8 On Your Side found for the rest of the night.

“You can have the best site in the world,” DeSantis said. “Sometimes there’s hiccups on it.”

Florida Democrats like Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said the state failed to prepare for a last-minute surge on the site.

“We could have anticipated with the amount of interest in this election that the system was going to crash,” Fried said. “It has crashed before.”

Fried told 8 On Your Side even with keeping local elections, tax collections and DMV offices open later for in-person registration Monday, the seven hour window was not enough time to make up for the website crashing.

“I had advised that we should have a 24 hour period of time,” Fried said. “Give people ample notice that the registration was back open.”

For our viewer’s stepdaughter, the extension is just what she needed so she can have a say in the pivotal November election.

“Well thank you we’re appreciative that you followed up and put the pressure on the state to be able to get to vote,” he said.

Now that the registration period is over, voting advocates say make sure you have a plan.

If you’ve opted for a vote by mail ballot this year, do not wait until the last minute to return it.

If you plan to turn out on Election Day on Nov. 3, make sure to verify your precinct location.


Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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