A federal judge extended Virginia’s voter registration deadline by 48 hours Wednesday after a severed cable caused the state’s online registration system to shut down Tuesday.
The Virginia Department of Elections announced that a cut fiber cable was the culprit after the state’s registration website crashed Tuesday morning.
Voting rights advocates and Virginia state officials sued for an extension.
U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney, Jr. said Wednesday the state’s website shutdown caused “tremendous harm” to people who wanted to register to vote but were unable, according to the Associated Press (AP). Gibney extended the deadline by 48 hours, moving the deadline to register to vote to 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15.
No objections to the extension were made by either Republicans or Democrats, per the same report.
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who asked the Court to extend the deadline Tuesday night, called the extension “a big win for democracy.” (RELATED: Around 1,400 Virginia Voters Received Two Absentee Ballots In Mail, Officials Blame Printer Problems)
“Today’s agreement to extend the voter registration deadline is a big win for democracy. Any eligible Virginian who was not able to register to vote yesterday can now do so,” he said in an official statement. “I have made it a top priority over the last several months to protect Virginians’ right to vote by making it as easy, safe and secure as possible, and this agreement is no different.”
“I will continue to fight to make sure that every eligible Virginian can vote in this crucial election and that their vote will count,” he continued.
????BREAKING???? Judge says he will GRANT our request to extend voter registration deadline until 11:59pm on Thursday, October 15. Register to vote now!!
— Mark Herring (@MarkHerringVA) October 14, 2020
Kristen Clark, President of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, also expressed her pleasure with the decision to extend the deadline.
“This is an important victory for people across Virginia who should not be penalized for errors on the part of the commonwealth.”
This is an important victory for people across Virginia who should not be penalized for errors on the part of the commonwealth.
— Kristen Clarke 866-OUR-VOTE (@KristenClarkeJD) October 14, 2020
Back in 2016, computer glitches forced a judge to grant a 36-hour extension. More than 25,000 people registered to vote during the extended window, the AP reported.