Elections

Glitch Prevents Virginia Residents From Registering To Vote

REUTERS/Charles Mostoller

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Virginia residents are suing to extend the voter registration deadline, after an unknown number of people were unable to register following a system crash Monday.

One registrar claimed that “tens of thousands” of voters were prevented from registering before the state deadline Monday night. The state election commissioner said the number is still unknown. Officials said their online system was overwhelmed by web traffic after roughly 21,000 people used the deadline day to register. A civil rights group launched a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of a couple from Charlottesville who attempted online registration on both Sunday and Monday but failed, reports The Washington Post.

The plaintiffs are requesting state officials extend the deadline at least three days to accommodate those who ran into online glitches, but the effort could prove difficult.

“We don’t have any legal authority to extend the registration deadline,” Edgardo Cortés, the state election commissioner, told The Washington Post. “This level of activity for our system is just unprecedented.”

The Washington-based firm, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, argue the constitutional rights of citizens across the state are being deprived by poorly constructed technology. The group plans to take the case to a federal court in hopes of forcing an extension in Virginia, reports WTOP.

“The right of eligible Virginians to vote should not be victim to a technological failure that is no fault of their own,” Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told The Washington Post.

It remains unclear if officials will be able to successfully rectify the situation. Gov. Terry McAuliffe said any extension would require action from the Virginia General Assembly because the deadline is established in state law.

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