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Florida Extends Voter Registration Deadline, A Nurse's Diary During COVID, Exile At Home

Charlie Riedel
Governor Ron Desantis extended Florida's voter registration deadline after issues with the online registration website on the last day of registration.

Gov. Ron DeSantis extends the state's voter registration deadline. A Florida nurse shares her story of struggle and resilience through an audio diary. Plus, being creative while being exiled at home during the pandemic.

On this Tuesday, Oct. 6, episode of Sundial:

Florida Extends Voter Registration Deadline

Florida’s voter registration deadline was extended until 7 p.m. Tuesday, following major issues with online registration Monday, which was originally the last day to register.

There were reports on social media from voters across the state showing that the website was malfunctioning, leaving many people unable to register before the midnight deadline.

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“During the last few hours [before the midnight deadline], the RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov website was accessed by an unprecedented 1.1 million requests per hour. We will work with our state and federal law enforcement partners to ensure this was not a deliberate act against the voting process,” said Florida’s Secretary of State Laurel Lee in a statement.

Some Florida Democrats reacted on social media to the website’s issues on Monday and accused the state of “voter suppression.”

But Democratic state Sen. Jason Pizzo told Sundial he doesn’t entertain those suspicions.

“Even the Division of Corporations website, also under the Secretary of State, is down today and not functioning,” said Pizzo. “The technology in Florida is antiquated ... and really, this is a wakeup call for the immediate future to start performing stress tests on systems and operations that are so critical to such a large number of people.”

Some voting advocates also argue that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ extension to the registration deadline doesn't go far enough.

“To people going through this, this is the equivalent to trying to vote on election day and the polls closing early,” said attorney Aidil Oscariz, who helps people who have previously been convicted of a felony restore their voting rights under 2018's Amendment 4. “By the time many people find out about the extension at 7 p.m. it will be too late for them to register.”

The governor ordered DMVs and supervisor of elections offices to stay open until 7 p.m. Tuesday so people can register in person. Also, he said anyone sending their voter registration by mail will be counted if it's postmarked with Tuesday’s date.

People can also register online until the new deadline here.

Florida Extends Voter Registration Deadline

A Nurse's Diary During COVID-19

The virus is affecting all of us in different ways but for the healthcare workers on the front lines, the pandemic has presented some extraordinary challenges.

Alison Geissler spent six years as a registered nurse at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, working in the cardiac intensive care unit. On top of the challenges of being a nurse, she’s also a single mother with a 9-year-old daughter, Brooklyn.

She recorded an audio diary back in May, where she reflected on the challenges she faced as a nurse — and as a mom — during this pandemic. You can find the complete audio diary here.

Exile At Home

It’s been about seven months since Florida shut down due to the spread of COVID-19. That’s seven months of social distancing, isolation and mostly being home.

A new project with the Miami Book Fair called “Exile at Home” wants to know how you’ve been spending your time at home.

Listen to Sundial’s conversation with the creators of this project, Miami Herald photojournalist, and founder of the Iris Photo collective, Carl Juste; and Lissette Mendez, the programs director for the Miami Book Fair. Hear the full conversation here.

You can share your story by sending in a photo, video or a written piece here. The deadline is Nov. 30.

Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.