Federal judge approves consent decree extending voter registration deadline to Thursday

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A federal judge has approved a consent decree extending the voter registration deadline through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, on the heels of a registration system outage on Tuesday that lasted several hours.

The issue came into being when a Verizon fiber inadvertently struck as part of activities related to a Chesterfield County roadside utilities project located near the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center threw numerous state agency websites offline for several hours on Tuesday.

Among those impacted was the Virginia Department of Elections.

Tuesday had been the final day under state law that Virginia residents could register to vote in the Nov. 3 election.

“Today’s agreement to extend the voter registration deadline is a big win for democracy. Any eligible Virginian who was not able to register to vote yesterday can now do so,” Attorney General Mark Herring said. “I have made it a top priority over the last several months to protect Virginians’ right to vote by making it as easy, safe and secure as possible, and this agreement is no different. I will continue to fight to make sure that every eligible Virginian can vote in this crucial election and that their vote will count.”

“Voting is a right, not a privilege, and everyone who is eligible must have the chance to cast their ballot during the 2020 election season,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which had filed emergency litigation Tuesday afternoon seeking a 48-hour extension of the voter registration deadline. “This extension is critical to ensuring that no eligible voter across Virginia is locked out and penalized as a result of the state’s failure. This underscores the need for states to put in place backstops to address 11th hour issues and disruptions in our electoral process.”

“This year has been tough for everybody in so many ways. The portal being unavailable on the last day for people to register to vote was another hurdle,” said Deb Wake, president of the League of Women Voters of Virginia. “Extending voter registration to compensate for those who did not get a chance to use the portal is just a matter of fairness.“

Wake urged all Virginians unsure of their voter registration status to check it before the Thursday deadline on the Leagues non-partisan website, Vote411.org.

Eligible Virginians may submit a voter registration application or update an existing voter registration record in any of the following methods:

  • In-person to the office of their local general registrar by 5 p.m. on Thursday
  • By mail postmarked on or before Thursday
  • Online at elections.virginia.gov/voterinfo through 11:59pm on Thursday
  • To an NVRA designated state agency, such as the DMV or a social services office, by Thursday

Currently registered Virginia voters and eligible Virginians that have already submitted a registration application do not need to take any additional action.

Virginians may also check their current voter registration status, find their polling location and apply for an absentee ballot on the Department’s Citizen Portal at elections.virginia.gov/voterinfo.


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