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Virginia’s online voter registration system went down on the worst day possible: the last day that residents are allowed to register to vote.

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A federal judge in Richmond has ruled that Virginia must extend online and in-person voter registration until 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 15.

The order comes after a construction project accidentally cut a fiber internet line yesterday that took down several state websites, including the Department of Elections website on the last day of voter registration.

U.S. Judge John A. Gibney Jr. made the ruling early Wednesday morning in a lawsuit brought by several voter rights groups.

“There’s really not a lot of harm to the Commonwealth and the state registrars by extending the period of registration in this case,” Gibney Jr. said in the teleconference hearing, “but there is tremendous harm to the people who want to register to

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The outage was caused by a broken cable near the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center.


James Martin/CNET

This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

The last chance to register to vote in Virginia will have to be offline, after a severed cable took the state’s voter registration website down on Tuesday. It’s the last day to register to vote in the state, but the outage could potentially lock out thousands of voters. 

Election officials already anticipated a surge of voters for the 2020 presidential race, many of whom would be registering online because of the coronavirus pandemic. While its website is down, Virginia’s department of elections is encouraging people to register to vote by printing out a paper application. 

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A federal judge heard arguments on Thursday morning about extending Florida’s voter registration deadline again after it had already been extended, following issues with the official state website that occurred earlier this week.

The day the site experienced the issue was also the last day residents could register to vote for the Nov. 3 election.

Voting rights groups sued and took the case to court, claiming Secretary of State Laurel Lee’s extension to 7 p.m on Tuesday wasn’t adequate enough to offset the damage caused by the website crash.

Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker grilled lawyers for the state and estimated that even with the extension, far fewer Floridians applied to vote on the online system than compared to registrations in the lead-up to the 2018 midterms, according to Fox 13.

“No one wants to get this right more than we do. Our website fell short of the standards

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A federal judge on Friday struck down a motion to extend voter registration in Florida by three days after a technical problem on the state’s website that might have prevented as many as thousands of people from casting their votes in the election next month.

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker in his ruling called the decision “an incredibly close call” but said the state’s interest in preventing chaos in its already precarious – and perennially chaotic – election outweighs the substantial burden imposed on the right to vote.”

Cartoons on the 2020 Election

Walker said the court “is not persuaded that an injunction … would not be adverse to the public interest,” adding that the “court is mindful of the potential for voter confusion that could result” from extending the registration deadline.

Despite his ruling, Walker’s decision was filled with criticism of the state.

“This court notes that every

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Florida’s secretary of state issued a directive Tuesday to reopen the state’s voter registration window until 7 p.m. to register.



a person standing in front of a sign: A voter exits the polling precinct after casting their ballot in Florida's primary election at Precinct 321 on Aug. 18, 2020 in Tampa, Fla.


© Octavio Jones/Getty Images
A voter exits the polling precinct after casting their ballot in Florida’s primary election at Precinct 321 on Aug. 18, 2020 in Tampa, Fla.

The decision came hours after voters across the state encountered problems with the registration website, registertovoteflorida.gov, as the clock ticked toward the initial deadline on Monday.

“We are working with local Supervisors of Elections and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to ensure that all eligible registrants have the ability to submit a voter registration application by 7:00 pm this evening,” Secretary of State Laurel Lee said in a public notice released Tuesday afternoon.

According to Lee, the website was inundated with over a million requests per hour in the final hours before the midnight deadline.

“We will

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After Florida’s voter registration website failed Monday night, the state’s residents will get additional time to register to vote online.

From hanging chads, to improper purging of voter rolls, to modern day poll taxes, the state of Florida has long been synonymous with voting disasters. This year is no different. Hours before the deadline to register online to vote in the Sunshine State on Monday, the site mysteriously went offline. In response, Florida’s secretary of state announced Tuesday morning an extension of that deadline.

“We are working with local Supervisors of Elections and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to ensure that all eligible registrants have the ability submit a voter registration  application by 7:00 p.m. this evening,” explained Secretary Laurel M. Lee in a . 

Florida, of course, is a vital swing state in the upcoming election. With a long history of GOP-led voter suppression in

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Topline

After a Florida voter registration website crashed on the final day residents were eligible to register for the November election, Gov. Ron DeStantis extended the state’s registration deadline by one day, giving Floridians until 7 p.m. Tuesday to enroll to vote.

Key Facts

Unprecedented traffic caused serious delays, malfunctions, error messages and eventually crashed Florida’s voter registration site Monday, just hours before the state’s midnight registration deadline.

The system failure could have potentially prevented thousands from registering to vote in the key battleground state.

DeSantis extended the state’s

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis briefly extended the state’s Tuesday voter registration deadline hours after its website crashed in the final hours of availability.

Florida residents now have until 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday to register online or in-person, Secretary of State Laurel Lee said in an email.

Voters who tried to visit the Florida Department of State website on Monday night were greeted with a message from Cloudflare, a cybersecurity company that specializes in mitigating attacks from hackers who try to knock sites offline with a massive influx of traffic. The voter registration site received 1.1 million visitors an hour, Lee said.

But Cloudflare’s CEO, Matthew Prince, said that increased traffic to election sites Monday night didn’t appear to be an attack.

“Traffic up, but that’s to be expected as people are legitimately registering to vote,” Prince said in a text message Monday evening. “As of now, no indications of

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Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee extended the state’s voter registration deadline to Tuesday evening after heavy traffic on Monday night caused its online registration system to crash. 

The new deadline for Florida voters to register is now Tuesday, October 6, at 7 p.m. ET.

Lee said in a statement that she met with Governor Ron DeSantis on Tuesday morning to discuss “the difficulties we encountered last night due to unprecedented volume and traffic to our website.”

“We are working with local Supervisors of Elections and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to ensure that all eligible registrants have the ability submit a voter registration application by 7:00 p.m. this evening,” Lee said.

According to Lee, the state’s voter registration website was accessed by an “unprecedented” 1.1 million requests per hour, raising concerns about election interference.

“We will work with our state and federal law-enforcement partners to

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MIAMI — Florida’s voter registration website crashed on Monday before the state’s midnight deadline, raising questions about whether the state was prepared for an enormous last-minute influx of voters.

The registration site was experiencing more than a million requests per hour, said state officials, who announced that the deadline for new voter registrations would be extended by a day, through 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said the trouble began at about 5 p.m. on Monday. “It was an inordinate amount of traffic” for about seven hours until midnight, he said. “If 500,000 people descend at the same time, it creates a bottleneck.”

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

The website gave users error messages and caused delays, prompting some state officials and cybersecurity experts to question whether the website had been targeted by hackers.

Secretary of State

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