New Virginia law allows governor to extend voter registration deadline if online system is down

Voter registration sign
Voter registration sign(KSLA)
Updated: Mar. 30, 2021 at 8:06 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Governor Northam signed HB 1810 last week, which allows a Virginia governor to extend the voter registration deadline in the event that an online voter registration system is down. The extension would last for however long the system was offline.

A similar situation happened in 2016 and again in October of 2020 on the last day of voter registration, when everything was halted due to a cut cable.

Northam could not extend the deadline himself and it had to go through the courts.

Mark Finks, the director of elections and general registrar in Harrisonburg, said this will be helpful to local registrars by allowing quicker actions to be taken in emergency situations.

“It makes it a little bit clearer where the power is vested and what the process to get this extended is. I think hopefully this will give voters a little peace of mind that certain aspects of this won’t be up in the air,” Finks said.

He added that in the event that an online system does go down, all registrar offices in Virginia have paper applications.

The city of Harrisonburg has an upcoming primary on June 8 for the Democratic nominations for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general.

No-excuse early voting begins 45 days earlier, on April 23.

The Harrisonburg Electoral Board has adjusted early voting hours. The City Hall atrium will be open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and the last two Saturdays of early voting.

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