Virginia groups work to register new voters through Thursday’s extended deadline

Virginia groups work to register new voters through Thursday’s extended deadline

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Voting rights groups are breathing a sigh of relief after a federal judge extended the state’s registration deadline to Thursday night. This after a technical glitch prompted a statewide shutdown Tuesday. For the groups that demanded that extension, Wednesday was a day full of additional efforts to register new voters. They plan to continue that work Thursday.

“We won!” Virginia’s New Majority posted on Twitter Wednesday reacting to the news of the extension.

“We got calls from some panicked Virginians saying ‘Oh my gosh, the portal is down, What do we do?’,” Executive Director Tram Nguyen said. Nguyen is from the New Virginia Majority, a group that works to expand voting rights.

After a technology glitch forced the shutdown of online voter registration Tuesday, the last day Virginians were supposed to be able to register, the group filed a lawsuit arguing young voters and minorities could be adversely impacted.

“The burden should not lie on the voter. A voter should not be disenfranchised whether it’s one voter or hundreds or thousands of voters. If anybody is disenfranchised through no fault of their own, that needs to be fixed,” Nguyen added.

A federal judge listened. Now new voters have until 11:59 p.m. Thursday to register online. “By God, we need that. We really do,” J.J. Minor of the Richmond branch of the NAACP said. His group is also hard at work. “We’re registering folks every day, every day,” Minor said. Even if it means working through the deadline.

They’re trying to fight what they call misconceptions."{The thought that their vote doesn’t count. Some folks don’t want to vote. Some folks don’t trust the government. There are so many circumstances," Minor said.

Since the pandemic has limited many face to face interactions, these groups are getting creative to promote their messages. “We’ve been doing social media campaigns. We’re phone banking folks. We’re texting voters so we’re using every avenue available to us to make sure Virginians are aware of the extension of the deadline,” Nguyen said.

People can also walk into their local registrar’s office Thursday to change their address or register to vote.

As for signing up online, new voters can do it here.

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