ACLU call for VA to extend voter registration deadline after website crash

ACLU call for VA to extend voter registration deadline after website crash

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Calls are emerging to extend Virginia's voter registration deadline, after the state's election website crashed on the last day to register.

A number of viewers contacted NBC12, upset that they now cannot vote in in the presidential election. However, there is nothing in Virginia's legal code that allows for an extension of the registration deadline, according to VA Election Board Commissioner Edgardo Cortes. Cortes says the website received record numbers of visitors and was overwhelmed at times, as thousands waited until the last day to register.

Sheba Williams, executive director of the felon advocacy group Nolef Turns, says the site was down most of Monday when she tried to help felons register online. Williams says some of those felons were reinstated to vote by the governor, within the last week.

"[The website] would say 'file not found.' So you couldn't go any further with that," said Williams. "If your website goes down, and it's not user error, these people shouldn't be penalized."

"We apologize to the voters impacted and are taking the information we've learned from yesterday to figure out what changes we need to make, so we don't encounter this issue again," Cortes said.

The ACLU of Virginia and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights are now calling for the VA Department of Elections to extend the registration deadline. The Lawyer's Committee asks for another 72 hours, in a letter to the department.

The ACLU of Virginia released the following statement:

"The ACLU of Virginia is deeply concerned about reports that some people were unable to register to vote on the final day of registration due to problems with the Virginia State Department of Elections' online system.

Cortes says 21,000 people were still able to register Monday. He says the General Assembly would have to pass a bill to extend the deadline.

If you recently moved to a different voting precinct, or registered in person, but aren't sure if your application was processed, call your registrar to check.
You might be able to vote in your old precinct, or fill out a provisional ballot election day that will still be counted, if the registrar can confirm you applied on time.

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