Va. voter registration deadline could be extended

Ruben Fields
October 16, 2020

U.S. District Judge John Gibney, in the state capital of Richmond, issued the order extending the deadline to make up for several hours of lost time.

"I am officially calling for Virginia's Registration Deadline to be extended beyond today due to the service outages impacting voters' ability to register statewide", Mr. Fairfax, a Democrat, tweeted.

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said in a news release that Virginia "failed the public and it must grant a significant extension to ensure all Virginians are given an equal opportunity to exercise their fundamental right to vote". "Any eligible Virginian who was not able to register to vote yesterday can now do so", said Herring in a statement after the decision. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said the state lacked a backup plan for this particular cable, showing the need for continued efforts to create a secure network.

In 2016, an undetermined number of Virginia residents were unable to meet the voter registration deadline because of unprecedented demand. Northam said during an afternoon news conference in Richmond.

Andrea Gaines, a department spokeswoman, said in an email that the cut occurred in the Chester area near Route 10.

The disruption occurred as three tight congressional races are under way in Virginia, the outcomes of which could affect the makeup of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Democratic freshmen Reps. Abigail Spanberger and Elaine Luria are facing tough challenges in the 7th District and 2nd District, respectively, and the 5th District seat is open.

In statement, the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections, Chris Piper said he welcomed the extension. The deadline to register to vote is now 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15.

Those who want to register to vote can do so online here.

The Virginia Mercury newspaper reported that the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Employment Commission all experienced outages similar to the Board of Elections. In 2016, the registration website crashed due to a surge in applications on the final day to register.

Gibney's order came after voting rights activists filed a lawsuit seeking an extension, which was agreed to by Virginia officials, who were named as defendants.

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