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Voter Registration in Virginia Extended After Last-Minute Technical Mishap

Voters line up in Fairfax, Virginia on Sept. 18, 2020.

Voters line up in Fairfax, Virginia on Sept. 18, 2020.
Picture: Anthony Caballero-Reynolds/AFP (Getty Photographs)

A federal decide in Virginia has prolonged voter registration via the top of Thursday after its on-line system became inaccessible just hours earlier than the state due date on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported.

U.S. District Courtroom Decide John A. Gibney Jr. sided with voting rights teams that the snafu was unacceptable, writing that it might do “irreparable hurt” to the rights of Virginians who had but to register when the system went down. Authorities initially defined the inaccessibility of the registration service as because of a mysteriously minimize fiber optic line; in line with Bloomberg, the Virginia Info Applied sciences Company has shed considerably extra mild on how the cable was broken, saying it was the results of an accident throughout a roadside utility venture in Chesterfield County.

The Attorneys’ Committee for Civil Rights Below Regulation introduced a lawsuit in opposition to the Virginia Division of Elections, Virginia State Board of Elections, and a number of other state election officers demanded that the deadline be prolonged by 48 hours. Per the Associated Press, it argued that the service outage was de facto disenfranchisement:

“Absent aid, voters who tried to register to vote via the net portal on October 13, 2020, however have been unable via no fault of their very own, will likely be completely disenfranchised within the upcoming elections,” the lawsuit stated.

If the deadline isn’t prolonged, the lawsuit stated, “Plaintiffs themselves will likely be prevented from serving to residents register to vote via the net voter registration system, irritating their core mission and actions in advancing that mission, and thereby disenfranchising these residents within the coming common election.”

Decide Gibney’s ruling went with out problem from both Democrats or Republicans, according to Politico, which famous {that a} comparable 36-hour extension was offered to Virginians in 2016 after the identical system crashed because of heavy internet site visitors. The prolonged window allowed over 25,000 individuals to register that in any other case would have been out of luck.

Early voting in Virginia, the place poll averages present Democratic nominee Joe Biden has an almost 13% lead over Donald Trump, has surged to unprecedented levels in 2020, with over a million ballots solid to date.

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Tom McKay