Republicans in Louisiana are facing overwhelming outrage from members of both parties after the state's voter registration website was shut down on National Voter Registration Day.

National Voter Registration Day has been celebrated annually on the fourth Tuesday of September since 2012 as a way to encourage all Americans to register ahead of elections and get involved locally.

Since its inception, it has received bipartisan support from local governments. RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, the NAACP and other groups from both sides of the political aisle released statements supporting the holiday yesterday, according to The Advocate. 

But on Tuesday, Louisiana citizens were confused when they went to the state's voter registration portal and found that the site was 'offline for scheduled maintenance.'

The message was noticed by Christina Watkins, an anchor for local news outlet WDSU. 

She also shared a video of herself going to the site and getting the message. 

The message caused immediate outrage, but Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin did not answer requests for comment until two days later. 

The website was shut down until Wednesday, September 23, and website administrators told that it was "required" maintenance. 

According to, the state is in the midst of an internal battle over absentee voting. Ardoin has led a group of local Republican officials in fighting attempts by Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards to make it easier to vote amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

But Republicans sought to remove the new rule that would allow voters to use COVID-19 as an excuse for voting through the mail. Absentee voting was expanded but Republicans sued to have the expansion stopped. A judge in Baton Rouge ruled against them, according to and The Advocate.

In a ruling last week, Chief U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick said the rules from the elections this summer need to be kept for the fall elections, The Advocate reported

Rep. Royce Duplessis, a New Orleans Democrat and vice chair of the House and Governmental Affairs Committee, took to Twitter to slam Ardoin's decision to shut down the website. 

Once the scandal attracted widespread attention, Ardoin released a statement apologizing for the decision.

He told New Orleans City Business in a statement that it was an oversight and went on to call the move "an unfortunate error for which I take full responsibility."

The news outlet notes that on November 3, Louisiana citizens will have multiple elected positions on which to vote. The state will be deciding on a U.S. senator, six House representatives, two public service commissioners and two Louisiana Supreme Court justices.

The Advocate reported that Ardoin said voter registration is still happening and that nearly 90% of the state's voters have signed up. 

The news outlet noted that voter registration ends on October 5 by mail and October 13 online.

“As Democrats across the state are engaging voters for the coming election, Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin has a pattern of attempting to suppress the vote. His plan to limit secure, expanded absentee voting was denied by a judge just days ago,” Katie Bernhardt, chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party said in a statement to The Advocate.

"On a day when his office should encourage voter registration and participation in our democracy, he blocked it. This was gross incompetence at best and blatant voter suppression at worst. Either way, this failure is an embarrassment,” she added.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell released a scathing statement on Twitter slamming the website shutdown. 

"Unacceptable and during a PANDEMIC," Cantrell wrote on Twitter. "This is beyond reprehensible. Absolute dereliction of duty, at such a critical time for our City and our nation. The LA SoS owes more to the people he serves," she added.