Virginia’s voter registration deadline extended to Thursday; Herring says move was ‘really important’

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(WAVY) — You now have more time to register to vote in Virginia. The new deadline is now 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15.

The extension is a result of a mistakenly cut fiber Tuesday morning. Utility workers in Chesterfield County cut the fiber, crashing a number of state websites including the Department of Elections’ online voter registration.

The site was back up by 3:30 p.m. but because it was the final day for Virginians to register to vote, people say the mishap deprived them of their fundamental voting rights.

On Tuesday night, a number of groups came together including the Virginia Civic Engagement Table, the New Virginia Majority and the League of Women Voters of Virginia, to file a joint lawsuit in federal court.

They wanted a 48-hour extension to the registration deadline.

According to the lawsuit, the incident disproportionately affected minorities and young people, groups who tend to register close to the deadline.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and his team immediately got behind the initiative.

“It was important to act quickly and get this agreement in place and for the court to approve it. Which we’ve been able to do in a record amount of time,” said Herring.

At a hearing first thing Wednesday morning, a federal judge granted the extension.

“Voting is just fundamental to our democracy,” Herring continued. “There’s so much at stake in this election and I want to make sure as many Virginians who want to vote have the ability to do so.” 

Herring also explained why they went with a 48-hour extension over some other time frame, like a 24-hour extension.

“We felt an extra day was really important because when the portal went down yesterday through most of the day, we had to act quickly to respond, we were able to get a court to approve our agreement. But now we have to get the word out that the deadline has been extended. So that really gives us today to get the word out and still have another day to make up for the time lost.” 


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