Voter registration groups are preparing to spend the next 24 hours registering as many people as they can after a federal judge extended Virginia's deadline until Friday night.
"Oh, I screamed. I almost dropped a tear,” said Sheeba Williams who works to register eligible felons. "We talked to a guy who says he hasn't voted since 1974 and his rights were restored. He just found out on Monday and of course, he doesn't have internet access."
Monday's crash of the online registration website took a toll for those wanting to vote, according to Williams.
"To get there and not be able to get it done, it was just heartbreaking,” Williams added.
Richmond’s Registrar's office was already getting more than 1,000 new registrations per day due to heavy interest in the upcoming election. Now that the deadline is extended, they're getting ready to work through the weekend to handle it all.
"A little reshuffling of staff priorities and backtracking,” said Richmond Registrar J. Kirk Showalter. She says Monday's site crash didn't come as a huge surprise. "The registrars have been warning about this since the summer. We've been seeing system problems and slow downs… We would have wished that [the State Board of Elections] would’ve addressed it sooner, but we’re here now and the local registrars will process those applications that we get in by 5 p.m. tomorrow."
Her staff is on call to possibly work through the weekend to process the additional applications.
Williams doesn't want people to think all of those trying to register by Friday's deadline procrastinated.
"Some people didn't find out or weren't even restored into late last week…It's not just people's lack of taking an opportunity well in advance, they didn't have the opportunity. They weren’t eligible until the last minute,” Williams said.
So what's being done to prevent another glitch? A representative from the State Board of Elections says the group is working to increase capacity on its website.
Here are several key links on the Virginia Department of Elections website:
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