Florida Online Voter Registration Site Broken, Just Hours Before Deadline to Register

The website that the Florida government uses to register voters has seemingly become inoperable just hours before the October 5 registration deadline to vote in the upcoming November 3 national elections.

The website's non-functioning is especially important considering Florida's role as an influential battleground swing state in presidential elections.

RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov currently fails to load when accessed through web browsers. Social media users have begun publicly calling upon the state's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis to fix the site and to extend the voter registration deadline as the website prevents untold numbers of voters from registering.

The voter registration deadline in Florida is just hours away, and the online voter registration website is broken.

This is unacceptable @GovRonDeSantis.

Fix it now.https://t.co/WNkfpkRp1i pic.twitter.com/0a8GbuSNy4

— Nikki Fried (@nikkifried) October 5, 2020

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee, the official who oversees the website, tweeted that the website's issues were due to high volume on the site.

"We have increased capacity. You can register until midnight tonight. Thank you to those who immediately brought this to our attention," Lee wrote via Twitter. However, at the time of publication, the website still couldn't load on two separate web browsers on a laptop computer.

On Twitter, Juan Peñalosa, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, called the website's issues problems a form of "voter suppression."

The website failure puts extra pressure on state Democrats eager to defeat Trump in the next election. On October 3, the Associated Press wrote that although Democrats have typically had hundreds of thousands more registered voters than the state Republican party, Democrats have also had trouble getting their voters out to the polls on Election Day.

Florida voter registration website down broken
Social media commenters have claimed that the Florida government website for registering voters has gone offline just hours before the registration deadline. In this picture, Florida poll workers help a voter put their mail-in ballot in an official Miami-Dade County ballot drop box on August 11, 2020. Joe Raedle/Getty

While Democrats had 330,000 more registered voters than Republicans did going into the 2016 presidential elections, Republican President Donald Trump still won the state by 112,991 votes over Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The AP reports that Republicans have halved the Democrat's lead in registered voters as of August. Democrats' plans for voter registration drives this year had to go entirely online due to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic.

However, Biden's Florida campaign director, Jackie Lee, told the press wire that the group has out-registered Republicans and is focused on mail-in ballots and absentee voters.

In 2018, Florida passed a law reinstating voter rights to felons who had completed their sentences and paid all fines, the latter of which Democratic advocates have challenged in court as an unconstitutional poll tax.

In September, billionaire and former Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg reportedly gave over $16 million to help pay the legal fees of 32,000 convicted felons in Florida, thus restoring their voting rights. Trump called Bloomberg's donation a "serious crime."

In mid-September, Florida's Division of Elections spent $600,000 to send mailers to nearly 2.24 million eligible voters, telling them that they weren't registered to vote. But the database used for the campaign accidentally included thousands of voters who were already registered to vote.