It is the final day to for Virginia residents to register to vote in the Nov. 3 election, but a cut fiber-optic line near Richmond has sparked calls to add more time.
Gov. Ralph Northam said road crews working in Chester, south of Richmond, accidentally cut a line that provides much of the connectivity to the state government, including its Department of Elections website.
The Virginia Information Technologies Agency this morning could not predict when the service would be restored.
During a press conference that focused on his recovery from mild COVID-19 symptoms, Northam said that the state code does not grant him authority to extend the deadline. However, when heavy web traffic crashed the registration system in 2016, a Federal District Court judge did act to provide extra time, he said.
In a separate statement, members of Northern Virginia’s House of Representatives delegation, including U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10), called for a court-ordered extension.
“The shutdown of Virginia’s online voter registration threatens to prevent many Virginians from casting their ballots in the 2020 election. Three weeks before the election, nearly one million Virginians have already voted, which speaks to the importance voters across the Commonwealth attach to participating in this election. They must be given every opportunity to do so,” the delegation stated. “It is imperative that the deadline for Virginians to register to vote be extended.”
They suggested a 72-hour extension.