Democrats condemn state for temporary online voter registration shutdown

Politics

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – The Florida Online Voter Registration System is back online after it was temporarily disabled for maintenance Sunday.

Democrats believe it was a strategic move to disable the site just two days before National Voter Registration Day.

Floridians trying to register to vote online Sunday were met with a message stating that the system was temporarily down for maintenance and apologizing for any inconvenience.

But Juan Peñalosa Executive Director of the Florida Democratic Party was suspicious.

“The fact that the site went down just as we were ramping up our efforts for National Voter Registration Day,” said Peñalosa.

Democrats issued a statement accusing the Governor of intentionally timing the shutdown to stop people from registering.

“We know that the site goes down conspicuously at times when community organizations like the Florida Democratic Party are beginning to ramp up efforts to register,” said Peñalosa.

The site was back up and running within a few hours.

Democrats were quick to take credit.

“The fact that the site was online so quickly after we pointed it out is a win for us,” said Peñalosa.

But Sarah Revell with the Department of State said in a statement, “The maintenance windows are scheduled for 48 hours but they typically are completed in less time. Yesterday’s maintenance window was expected to be completed by 2 p.m. so the site coming back online had nothing to do with the Florida Democratic Party.”

Revell also said the maintenance was intended to make sure the site is ready for National Voter Registration Day Tuesday.

“The routine maintenance helps increase security for the site and will also help to ensure the site is able to handle the anticipated increase in traffic on National Voter Registration Day,” said Revell.

But Democrats don’t buy the state’s story.

“To bring the site down for maintenance could have happened last week. It could have happened two weeks before,” said Peñalosa. “We have publicized this day and this lead up for voter registration for over a month now.”

Florida Democrats say they’ve committed more than $3 million to its voter registration efforts.

They hope to register more than 200,000 before the 2020 General Election.

Democrats are calling on the Governor and Secretary of State to commit to only four hours of downtime for the voter registration site a year.

You can register online by visiting RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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