Florida’s online voter registration (OVR) system has a history of failing at critical moments—on deadline day in 2018, during this year’s March primary, and more. On the afternoon of the deadline for 2020 general election registration, Monday, October 5th, Floridians reported widespread problems attempting to register to vote through OVR. Instead of successful registrations, they got a series of error messages. Florida Immigrant Coalition was helping more than 200 voters register each hour before the problems began, but then organizations that have worked to drive hundreds of thousands of voters to the OVR site had to upend their final push efforts to troubleshoot. Reports indicate that the OVR site may have been the target of a “disruption of service” attack.
Demos worked with co-counsel Advancement Project and Latino Justice to file an emergency lawsuit the morning of October 6th urging the Court to require Florida to extend the voter registration deadline for at least two days from the time of the order—one day for voters to register and one for organizations to shift their resources and outreach to make sure that voters know about the extension.
Around mid-day Secretary of State Lee announced a deadline extension to 7pm on October 6th—not nearly enough time for voters to make use of the extension at anywhere near the scale of those who were prevented for registering the night before.
On October 9, 2020, the defendants’ preliminary injunction was denied.
Augusta Sandino Christian Namphy, Dream Defenders, New Florida Majority. Organize Florida, and Florida Immigration Coalition
Advancement Project National Office, Latino Justice PRLDEF