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Leon County voters happy for second chance to register after state site crashes

Posted at 6:19 PM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 23:59:41-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Voting registration comes to a close in Florida.

The state extended its deadline to 7 p.m. Tuesday after the state's voter registration website crashed on Monday.

Secretary of State Laurel Lee says the portal was overwhelmed in the final hours before midnight.

An unprecedented 1.1 million requests came in per hour, she says.

State authorities are also looking into whether anything malicious occurred.

For some, the extension was a good thing!

"I tried to register online but I couldn't quite figure it out so I just came here in person," said Maia Thompson, a student at Florida State and a first-time voter in Leon County.

Thompson is one of many Florida residents given a second chance at registering to vote.

"My mom just texted me about an hour ago and reminded me to make sure to register," Thompson said.

But for some Florida residents, that just wasn't possible Monday.

"In the late afternoon, we started to get word through social media and some people on the phone that there were some issues with the online voter registration site," said Chris Moore, the Deputy Supervisor for the Leon County Supervisor of Elections.

Moore says Monday felt like an election day, receiving over 900 calls throughout the day plus people coming inside to register.

The office says the website seemed to be having some issues before it crashed later in the night.

"Certainly it was a concern," Moore said.

The League of Women Voters president, Sally Butzin says she is grateful for the extension Tuesday but the technical issue could have potentially deterred voters.

"Just like people go to the polls and their long long line they go, 'oh I'm not going to stay,' so it could have turned people off," said Butzin. "But I really think and hope that there was such a push to get people to register to vote early."

While the crash was inconvenient for many, people like Thompson are taking advantage of the extension.

"I'm really excited to vote, I feel like this year it's a big deal especially like its a big deal among young people to get out there and use their voice," Thompson said.

A coalition of voting and civil rights groups filed suit in federal court to extend the deadline by two full days.

They argue the new deadline isn't enough time to re-engage canvassers and volunteers, and alert voters they can try to register online again.