Federal judge extends Virginia voter registration in wake of online system crash
By Laura Jarrett
(CNN) — A federal judge in Virginia agreed Thursday to grant voters until Friday to register to vote in the upcoming election.
Judge Claude M. Hilton, of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, granted the preliminary injunction request filed by several civil rights groups and citizens who argued that voter registration needed to be reopened and extended because the online registration tool had malfunctioned and crashed in the days leading up to the state’s registration deadline on October 17.
In an interesting twist, both the plaintiffs and the state came to court with joint proposal asking for the judge to extend voter registration until Monday, October 24, but the judge disagreed.
“I do believe you are asking for too much time,” Hilton said. In the judge’s view, the extra days over the upcoming weekend would be “beyond what the legislature provided.”
Both sides suggested they did not want to have to come back to court if the website fails again, but the judge said the case will remain open in the event further technical problems arise.
After the hearing, Edgardo Cortes, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections, told CNN he was “hopeful” the state will be able to meet the judge’s new registration deadline of October 21 at 11:59 p.m.
“The site is back up and running now,” Cortes said.