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.
🚨BREAKING🚨 Judge says he will GRANT our request to extend voter registration deadline until 11:59pm on Thursday, October 15. Register to vote now!!
— Mark Herring (@MarkHerringVA) October 14, 2020
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
This story is part of , 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. 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.
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
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.”
Cartoons on the 2020 Election
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
Florida’s secretary of state issued a directive Tuesday to reopen the state’s voter registration window until 7 p.m. to register.
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.
“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.
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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.
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After Florida’s voter registration website failed Monday night, the state’s residents will get additional time to register to vote online.
From hanging chads, to improper purging of voter rolls, to modern day poll taxes, the state of Florida has long been synonymous with voting disasters. This year is no different. Hours before the deadline to register online to vote in the Sunshine State on Monday, the site mysteriously went offline. In response, Florida’s secretary of state announced Tuesday morning an extension of that deadline.
“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 submit a voter registration application by 7:00 p.m. this evening,” explained Secretary Laurel M. Lee in a .
Florida, of course, is a vital swing state in the upcoming election. With a long history of GOP-led voter suppression in the state, Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo wasted no time in calling out Republican elected officials.
“This is just latest attempt from the Republican leaders in Florida to limit democracy,” she said in a statement. “The Florida Voter Registration website not working on the last day to register to vote in Florida is blatant voter suppression.”
At fault, according to Secretary Lee, was the high volume of traffic received by the registration website https://registertovoteflorida.gov. She noted that, Monday evening as the initial deadline approached, the site received 1.1 million requests per hour.
Today, I issued a directive to re-open Florida’s voter registration deadline to participate in the Nov 3, General Election before 7 pm EST for applications submitted online and by 7 pm local time for in-person registration, today, October 6. More: https://t.co/7kK8aeEsas
— Laurel M. Lee (@FLSecofState) October 6, 2020
The population of Florida is approximately 21.5 million,