Judge Orders More Time for Virginia Voters to Register

A federal judge said he’ll order voting registration to be extended through Thursday in Virginia, following a network outage that knocked the state’s registration system offline for much of Tuesday.

“There will be irreparable harm” to people intending to register to vote if registration isn’t extended, U.S. District Court Judge John A. Gibney Jr. said during a hearing in Richmond.

Voting rights’ groups sued for the extension, and the state in a brief supported their request for more time to register.

“We need to make up for the time lost today,” Attorney General Mark Herring said ina tweet late Tuesday. “We have 21 days until the most important election of our lifetimes and I want to make sure every eligible Virginian who wants to vote can.”

Virginia like other states is experiencing a surge of early voting, with more than 1 million people having already casting ballots for the Nov. 3 election, according to the U.S. Election Project, which tracks voting trends..

The shutdown on Tuesday was caused when a cable was inadvertently struck during a roadside utility project in central Virginia, according to the the Virginia Information Technologies Agency. Reports of the downed website came as early as 9 a.m., and the site stayed down until mid-afternoon.

Virginia, once a conservative bastion, has swung toward Democrats as its prosperous counties near Washington grow. Hillary Clinton carried Virginia by 5 percentage points, and Barack Obama twice won the state.

As of late September, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was up 11 points over President Donald Trump in Virginia, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls.

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