Virginia Extends Voter Registration Deadline Until Oct. 15 After Website Outage : NPR

Virginia’s online voter registration system went down on the worst day possible: the last day that residents are allowed to register to vote.

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A federal judge in Richmond has ruled that Virginia must extend online and in-person voter registration until 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 15.

The order comes after a construction project accidentally cut a fiber internet line yesterday that took down several state websites, including the Department of Elections website on the last day of voter registration.

U.S. Judge John A. Gibney Jr. made the ruling early Wednesday morning in a lawsuit brought by several voter rights groups.

“There’s really not a lot of harm to the Commonwealth and the state registrars by extending the period of registration in this case,” Gibney Jr. said in the teleconference hearing, “but there is tremendous harm to the people who want to register to vote and to the people who are helping people register to vote.”

Attorney General Mark Herring, who supported the lawsuit, announced the news on Twitter as well.

Voter advocates filed a lawsuit Tuesday to extend Virginia’s deadline.

“Eligible Virginia citizens should not have to pay the price for this technological failure. Unless the voter registration deadline is extended to October 15, 2020, Plaintiffs’ members and others will be deprived of their constitutional right to vote in the November 3, 2020, election,” reads the suit filed by the New Virginia Majority Education Fund, the Virginia Civic Engagement Table and the League of Women Voters of Virginia.

Problems erupted early Tuesday morning when voters noticed they could not access online registration. The

Virginia’s voter registration site goes offline on deadline date

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The outage was caused by a broken cable near the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center.


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This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

The last chance to register to vote in Virginia will have to be offline, after a severed cable took the state’s voter registration website down on Tuesday. It’s the last day to register to vote in the state, but the outage could potentially lock out thousands of voters. 

Election officials already anticipated a surge of voters for the 2020 presidential race, many of whom would be registering online because of the coronavirus pandemic. While its website is down, Virginia’s department of elections is encouraging people to register to vote by printing out a paper application. 

“Due to a network outage the Citizen Portal is temporarily unavailable,” a notice on the voter registration website said. “We are working with our network providers to restore service as quickly as possible.”

The outage was caused by a cut fiber cable near the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center, the department of elections said. The cut cable affected several of Virginia’s websites, not just the voter registration site. 

It’s unclear when the sites will be back online, but the Virginia Information Technologies Agency said on Tuesday morning that technicians were working on-site to repair the cut. 


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Justin Fairfax, Virginia’s lieutenant governor, is pushing for an extension to the voter registration deadline because of the outage. 

“I am officially calling for Virginia’s Registration Deadline to be extended beyond today due to the service outages impacting voters’ ability to register

Judge to rule on extending Florida’s voter registration deadline after website crash

A federal judge heard arguments on Thursday morning about extending Florida’s voter registration deadline again after it had already been extended, following issues with the official state website that occurred earlier this week.

The day the site experienced the issue was also the last day residents could register to vote for the Nov. 3 election.

Voting rights groups sued and took the case to court, claiming Secretary of State Laurel Lee’s extension to 7 p.m on Tuesday wasn’t adequate enough to offset the damage caused by the website crash.

Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker grilled lawyers for the state and estimated that even with the extension, far fewer Floridians applied to vote on the online system than compared to registrations in the lead-up to the 2018 midterms, according to Fox 13.

“No one wants to get this right more than we do. Our website fell short of the standards that we have set for ourselves. We tried to remedy the situation,” Mohammad Jazil, a lawyer for Lee, told Walker.

Plaintiffs are asking that Walker extend the voting-registration deadline for two days, but he did not immediately issue a decision. One is expected later today, however.

FLORIDA VOTER REGISTRATION WEBSITE EXPERIENCED OUTAGE HOURS BEFORE DEADLINE

The defendants, on the other hand, argued the plaintiff’s proposal would harm the state “far worse than it would benefit the plaintiffs.”

Walker reportedly asked if the issue was so large in scope as to warrant judicial intervention.

Jazil highlighted the fact that two individual plaintiffs in the lawsuit who claimed they were unable to use the website were already registered voters,” Fox 13 reported.

“We had a deadline. It was a generally applicable, widely known deadline. We had a failure of one mechanism to meet that deadline for a portion of one day on

Florida Judge Denies Motion to Extend Voter Registration Deadline After Website Crashes | Politics

A federal judge on Friday struck down a motion to extend voter registration in Florida by three days after a technical problem on the state’s website that might have prevented as many as thousands of people from casting their votes in the election next month.

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Walker in his ruling called the decision “an incredibly close call” but said the state’s interest in preventing chaos in its already precarious – and perennially chaotic – election outweighs the substantial burden imposed on the right to vote.”

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Walker said the court “is not persuaded that an injunction … would not be adverse to the public interest,” adding that the “court is mindful of the potential for voter confusion that could result” from extending the registration deadline.

Despite his ruling, Walker’s decision was filled with criticism of the state.

“This court notes that every man who has stepped foot on the moon launched from the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida. Yet, Florida has failed to figure out how to run an election properly – a task simpler than rocket science,” Walker said.

The decision comes after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis extended the state’s voter registration deadline through 7 p.m. on Tuesday after the state’s website crashed on Monday, the initial deadline. While the deadline was extended, the “cure had at least one major flaw,” Walker said: People weren’t given enough notice of the extension.

Florida’s chief information officer, James Grant, told The Associated Press that the servers for Florida’s voting system “were configured in a way that reduced its capacity to a fraction of a fraction of what it was capable of.”

The secretary of state’s office told AP the system was overloaded by approximately 1.1 million requests per hour. During the peak of

After voter registration website debacle, state extends deadline

Florida’s secretary of state issued a directive Tuesday to reopen the state’s voter registration window until 7 p.m. to register.



a person standing in front of a sign: A voter exits the polling precinct after casting their ballot in Florida's primary election at Precinct 321 on Aug. 18, 2020 in Tampa, Fla.


© Octavio Jones/Getty Images
A voter exits the polling precinct after casting their ballot in Florida’s primary election at Precinct 321 on Aug. 18, 2020 in Tampa, Fla.

The decision came hours after voters across the state encountered problems with the registration website, registertovoteflorida.gov, as the clock ticked toward the initial deadline on Monday.

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“We are working with local Supervisors of Elections and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to ensure that all eligible registrants have the ability to submit a voter registration application by 7:00 pm this evening,” Secretary of State Laurel Lee said in a public notice released Tuesday afternoon.

According to Lee, the website was inundated with over a million requests per hour in the final hours before the midnight deadline.

“We will work with our state and federal law-enforcement partners to ensure this was not a deliberate act against the voting process,” she added.

MORE: Supreme Court reinstates South Carolina witness requirement for absentee ballots

Just before 6 p.m. Monday, Lee announced on Twitter that the website’s functions had been restored and that a “high volume” of visitors caused delays for about 15 minutes.

Hours after that announcement, however, the website was still giving people fits.

Destinee Morin, a recent high school graduate from St. Cloud, who is already registered, spent much of Monday unsuccessfully refreshing the website in an attempt to help register two friends, both of them teenagers and would-be first-time voters.

MORE: 2020 Election: Voter registration deadlines for each state

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