RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Board of Elections is facing some backlash after a number of online voter registrations came to a halt Monday night. Despite last minute problems, the Department of Elections says it is not extending the voter registration deadline.
Those rushing to meet last night’s registration deadline might have spend hours trying to register or even possibly missed the deadline altogether. The Department of Elections says too much online activity bogged down the system, causing it to slow down or even be unresponsive.
The Department announced on Facebook that they were making changes to the site to help fix the problem, but some people responded saying they were still experiencing problems. Some even tried to register for up to five hours with zero response.
The crash comes just days after the commissioner of the Department of Elections came under fire when Republicans criticized the department’s readiness for the upcoming election, and called for the resignation of the department’s commissioner, Edgardo Cortes.
Many have called for the governor to step in and extend the registration deadline, but a spokesperson said that was unlikely in a statement to 8News that read, in part: “The registration deadline is a matter of law, it could only be changed by changing the law.”
Meanwhile, the ACLU of Virginia still wants action in light of the systen failure; it wants the department of elections to do what it can to make sure everyone who wants to vote can.
“The ACLU of Virginia is deeply concerned about reports that some people were unable to register to vote on the final day of registration due to problems with the Virginia State Department of Elections’ online system.
“The Department is required by statute to have necessary equipment in place to operate and maintain the voter registration system at all times, including on the final day of registration in a presidential year when high demand is predictable. Further, given that state law includes a provision to accommodate persons who are standing in line when their registrar’s office closes on the last day of registration, similar allowances should be made for those who attempted to register online without success.
“Because it was the state’s failure to successfully operate the voter registration system, it is state’s burden to remedy this injustice. We urge the department to take any and all measures necessary to protect and ensure the fundamental right to vote in the 2016 election of any Virginian whose right may have been compromised or denied by the failure of legally required registration systems.”
The deadline to register was 11:59 p.m. Monday for online registration, but one can still check their registration status here.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.