Virginia voter registration deadline extended through Friday

13News Now Steven Graves has the story

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- A judge has order that voter registration be re-opened and extended in Virginia until 11:59 p.m. Friday.

Overwhelming demand ahead of Monday night's original deadline crashed the voting registration website. Those glitches prevented many Virginians from signing up to vote in next month's presidential election.

A voter advocacy group sued state officials earlier this week, pushing to extend the deadline.

On Thursday Judge Claude Hilton ordered an immediate reopening of voter registration in the Commonwealth through Friday night.

At a hearing in federal court in Alexandria, state officials actually wanted to extend the deadline even longer, through Monday. But Hilton said he only wanted to extend the process long enough to make up for the computer glitches that occurred in the hours leading up to the original October 17 deadline.

Virginia elections commissioner Edgardo Cortes says the department will notify voters of the extension. As for concerns about further online registration problems, Cortes tells 13News Now the Department of Elections have made "some improvements since Monday."

The website appears to be functioning on Thursday afternoon, but in case there are more issues, the DoE is urging to find other methods to register, including registering in person at their registrar's office or at the DMV. Cortes also says you can register by mail if it is postmarked by Friday.

After the ruling, Governor Terry McAuliffe issued the following statement:

I am pleased that the court has agreed with the request to extend Virginia’s voter registration period after unprecedented web traffic prevented many people from completing their registrations online before the original deadline. The Commonwealth will fully comply with the court’s order and extend our registration process online, in-person and through the mail.


“The Virginia Department of Elections and the Virginia Information Technology Agency have been working overtime since Monday night to expand the capacity of the system that allows Virginians to register to vote online, and I am confident that the steps we have taken will provide an improved experience to people who use it.


“However, I do want to urge Virginians who are interested in registering to vote to act as quickly as possible and, if they are able, to take advantage of all of the available ways to register to vote during this period, including visiting a local registrar’s office or a Department of Motor Vehicles office.


“Additionally, in the event that there are unexpected technology issues, we urge Virginians to contact the Department of Elections and indicate that they are attempting to register, so that staff can follow up and ensure that they make it through the process.


“The right to vote is one of the most sacred tenets of our democracy and we should do everything we can to make it accessible to as many people as possible. I am pleased that we are able to offer the individuals who were unable to register another opportunity to make their voices heard and we are working hard to ensure that this process, as well as the remainder of this election cycle, is smooth and easy for everyone who participates.”

Judge's ruling on extending voter registration deadline

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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