A worker at the Miami-Dade County Election Department prepares a voting booth on Oct. 1 to be used in the general election in Doral, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Democrats are demanding Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) launch an investigation after the state's voter registration website for November's election crashed Monday hours before enrollment closed at midnight.

Driving the news: Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee tweeted Monday evening, "Due to high volume, for about 15 minutes, some users experienced delays while trying to register. We have increased capacity." Several people replied to her post saying the site was still down and asked for the deadline to be extended.

What they're saying: Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried (D) tweeted to DeSantis, "Not planning for a voter registration surge is voter suppression. Not ensuring everyone who wants to register can do so is voter suppression. Not extending the deadline is voter suppression."

  • Florida Democratic Party chair Terrie Rizzo said in a statement, "This is just latest attempt from the Republican leaders in Florida to limit democracy.
"The Florida Voter Registration website not working on the last day to register to vote in Florida is blatant voter suppression. Fix the website, stop the suppression, and let democracy work."

The other side: DeSantis' office did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment and Lee's office could not be reached by phone. But Lee told Politico that her office was "working now to see if there's an ongoing problem."

  • Republican Party of Florida Vice Chair Christian Ziegler tweeted that the Democrats were "playing politics," declaring "we are crushing the Dems in registration."
  • He added in a statement that Democrats "like to make it seem like there’s some conspiracy out there," per the Tampa Bay Times.

Of note: State Sen. Jason Pizzo (D-Miami Beach) tweeted that he had spoken to Lee about the site crash.

  • "Her agency continues to monitor disruptions, and is exploring whether they can extend deadline for those who continue to experience issues," he said.

The big picture: Florida is a key battleground state in November's election.

  • The Cook Political Report this month predicted that the presidential election winner would be a "toss up" between President Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden.
  • Florida's online voter portal has experienced "glitches" in other years, notably "ahead of the 2018 voter registration deadline," per the Tampa Bay Times.

Go deeper: Coronavirus affects how voters in Florida think about climate

Go deeper

Updated Oct 20, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on America's voting barriers

On Tuesday, October 23, Axios' Sara Kehaulani Goo, Margaret Talev, and Alexi McCammond hosted a virtual event on barriers to voting access across the country, featuring Southwest Voter Registration Education Project President Lydia Camarillo, U.S. Election Assistance Commission Chairman Benjamin Hovland, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition President Desmond Meade and "The West Wing" actors Janel Moloney and Richard Schiff.

Benjamin Hovland unpacked how to vote safely during this unprecedented year and highlighted the uptick in mail-in ballots and early voting.

  • On a notable increase in early ballots being cast: "We're seeing a surge in early in-person voting...We're already at around 30 million Americans that have already voted in the 2020 election, which is pretty remarkable."
  • On the impact of the pandemic on mail-in ballots: "About 25% of Americans vote by mail in a normal year, or in 2016. So we're going to see an increase probably closer to half."

Lydia Camarillo discussed the importance of the Latino electorate in American elections.

  • The impact on November's election: "I think that the Latino electorate can be the deciding factor in this election — in partnership with other groups like the Black community, the Muslim community, Asian American community and progressives. They will decide the election."

Desmond Meade, who helped lead the 2018 fight for Amendment 4 in Florida, unpacked the expansion of voting rights and Florida's impact on similar state-level policy changes across the country.

  • On restoring felon rights: "This thing has caught on like a wildfire. All across this country, people are really standing up. Because America is a nation of second chances. And it's showing up right now in a major way."

Janel Moloney and Richard Schiff discussed the recent "The West Wing" episode on HBO Max and the experience of reuniting as an ensemble cast.

  • Richard Schiff on the meaning of the episode: "It's a rare thing in this day and age around the world to have the privilege to vote and the right to vote. And we should be very careful to not let it be extinguished and that this episode addresses that."

Axios Vice President of Event Kristin Burkhalter hosted a View from the Top segment with Lyft Head of Policy Engagement and Strategic Partnerships Heather Foster who discussed how transportation plays a critical role in voting access.

  • "We took a look at the statistics that came out of 2016, and it was estimated at the time that more than 15 million eligible voters did not go to the polls because they lacked a way to get there."

This event was the first in a yearlong series called Hard Truths, where we'll be discussing the wide ranging impact of systemic racism in America. Read our deep dive on race and voting here.

Thank you Lyft for sponsoring this event.

Pence to continue traveling despite aides testing positive for COVID-19

Marc Short with Pence in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force. Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday morning, according to the vice president's office.

AOC: "Extremely important" that Biden offer Bernie Sanders a Cabinet position

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that she believes it's "extremely important" that Joe Biden offer Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressive leaders Cabinet positions if he's elected president.

The big picture: Ocasio-Cortez was pressed repeatedly on policy differences between her and the more moderate Biden, including her opposition to fracking and support for Medicare for All. She responded that it would be a "privilege" and a "luxury" to be able to lobby a Biden administration on progressive issues, insisting that the focus right now should be on winning the White House.