RICHMOND, Va. – A federal judge has granted a motion to extend the voter registration in Virginia until Friday at midnight.
The extension comes after the voter registration website crashed before Monday’s deadline, making it difficult for some people to register.
“The Department of Elections online voter registration system is experiencing an unprecedented activity level that has caused it to slow down and sometimes be completely unresponsive,” the department posted on Facebook Monday.
A lawsuit was filed late Tuesday night in federal court by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, claiming that the voter registration website malfunctioned repeatedly on October 16 and was down for most of the day on October 17, the last day to register to vote.
The group had asked for the deadline to be extended through the weekend but the judge granted the motion with a reduced extension period that ends Friday at 11:59 p.m.
Governor Terry McAuliffe released a statement saying he’s pleased with the decision and that he urges Virginians to take advantage of the opportunity.
“I am pleased that the court has agreed with the request to extend Virginia’s voter registration period after unprecedented web traffic prevented many people from completing their registrations online before the original deadline. The Commonwealth will fully comply with the court’s order and extend our registration process online, in-person and through the mail.
The Virginia Department of Elections and the Virginia Information Technology Agency have been working overtime since Monday night to expand the capacity of the system that allows Virginians to register to vote online, and I am confident that the steps we have taken will provide an improved experience to people who use it.
However, I do want to urge Virginians who are interested in registering to vote to act as quickly as possible and, if they are able, to take advantage of all of the available ways to register to vote during this period, including visiting a local registrar’s office or a Department of Motor Vehicles office.
Additionally, in the event that there are unexpected technology issues, we urge Virginians to contact the Department of Elections and indicate that they are attempting to register, so that staff can follow up and ensure that they make it through the process.
The right to vote is one of the most sacred tenets of our democracy and we should do everything we can to make it accessible to as many people as possible. I am pleased that we are able to offer the individuals who were unable to register another opportunity to make their voices heard and we are working hard to ensure that this process, as well as the remainder of this election cycle, is smooth and easy for everyone who participates.”