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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

It would appear that Florida's voter registration website is shitting the bed

Posted By on Tue, Oct 9, 2018 at 3:19 PM

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In yet another example of why Florida needs to adopt automatic voter registration, the state's year-old online registration portal seems to be glitching at the absolute worst time possible.

Today, Tuesday, Oct. 9, is the last day to register to vote for the upcoming midterms, and despite objections from Florida election officials, the state's voter registration site,, is predictably having issues.

Gov. Rick Scott's chief elections official, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, told the Tampa Bay Times that the site was indeed experiencing trouble on Monday, but these issues have since been fixed. However, on Tuesday complaints continue to pile up from people who say they can't update or register their information on the site.

Most people seem to be having issues with the address verification page. When we tested the site at Orlando Weekly on both mobile and desktop devices, we weren't able to get past this section, as well. On social media, others say they're seeing error messages even earlier in the process. One woman says she's resorted to printing out her 18-year-old son's paperwork and physically taking it to the Supervisor of Elections office.  Despite the apparent glitches, Detzner's spokeswoman Sarah Revell, told Orlando Weekly that the site is actually fine.

"Online voter registration is fully functioning at this time and people are successfully using the site to register to vote or update their current registration," said Revell in an email. "The Department is actively monitoring for any potential issues however it is possible that the website may be a little slow due to a high volume of traffic.

Revell also says 11,500 people have successfully used the site today.

Not everyone is buying it. The ACLU of Florida is currently asking that anyone experiencing issues with the site should contact them immediately.

If the state needs another reason to extend the deadline, Florida Democrats are now suing the state to extend voter registration because of the threat of Hurricane Michael, which is expected to make landfall Wednesday as a Category 3 storm and severely affect Florida's Panhandle and the Big Bend region.

Meanwhile, Rick Scott has already closed state offices in 35 Florida counties because of Hurricane Michael.

Update: State officials released an update this evening on today's non-issues, reiterating that there aren't any obvious problems with the website. "Today, the website has experienced an extremely high volume of traffic and it has caused some users to experience issues while others were able to use the site with no problems," said Revell in an email. "More than 21,700 people have successfully used the site to submit a voter registration application or update an existing registration today. The site was never down and the issues were intermittent. All issues have been resolved and the site is operational."

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