Florida voter site goes dark. Routine maintenance or suppression?
Florida's voter registration website went down over the weekend, angering Democrats who accused the state's Republican governor of voter suppression just days ahead of a national voter registration drive.
The website went down Friday night for "routine maintenance," the site said, and was online again Sunday.
Democrats said they beieved Gov. Ron DeSantis orchestrated the shutdown to interrupt plans to register voters over the weekend and ahead of Tuesday's National Voter Registration Day, the single largest campaign to register voters.
"Shuttering the online voter registration site for 'maintenance' as we kick off our largest voter registration week is the latest act of voter suppression from a governor who has doubled down on voter suppression tactics during his short tenure," said Terrie Rizzo, chairwoman of the state Democratic Party.
A spokeswoman for the department that oversees Florida's elections said the scheduled maintenance was announced in advance, and was designed to provide increased security and ensure an expected surge in traffic during the registration drive.
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More voters see "corruption in our political system" as the country's most pressing problem than any of the other issues getting greater attention in the 2020 campaign, new polling shows.
The online survey conducted in September asked voters whether seven different issues were an "extremely serious problem" for the country, and the only one where a majority said yes was political corruption; rising health care costs came in second at 49 percent.
The poll is only the latest to declare the electorate's dire concern about the broken political system. In just the last month, two-thirds of voters told one poll they believe the country is on the "edge of a civil war" and a plurality in another poll identified the government itself as the country's biggest problem.
But the topic of democracy reform is getting hardly any mention in the presidential race. Though most of the Democratic candidates have plans for limiting money in politics, making voting easier, securing elections and restoring the balance of powers, few have emphasized these ideas on the trail. And President Trump, who four years ago ran as the candidate most interested in "draining the swamp," rarely mentions this aspiration anymore.
A Democratic advocacy group has filed a third lawsuit in less than a month challenging Michigan laws and policies it says restrict voting rights.
The focus on Michigan voting laws by the super PAC Priorities USA reflects the importance of the state's 16 electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election. President Trump won Michigan, a swing state, by less than half a percentage point in 2016.
The latest lawsuit, filed Friday in state court, challenges actions taken after a successful 2018 ballot initiative expanded voting options, such as allowing people to register to vote at any time (including on Election Day). It also automatically registered people to vote when they obtained or renewed their driver's licenses.