Virginia’s online voter registration was “completely unresponsive” at times on Monday, prompting a civil rights group to call for an extension of the state’s voter registration period to accommodate would-be voters who were locked out. Kristen Clarke, president of the executive director of the D.C.-based nonprofit Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said her group received “many calls” Monday through its voter protection program from people “desperately trying to register in advance of the deadline. We’re very concerned about the breakdown yesterday,” Clarke said in an interview this morning. She said her group intends to send a formal letter to state officials today requesting an extension. The letter asks the state for a three-day extension given the “extraordinary circumstances” and asks state officials to act today. Because the registration deadline is set in state law, Gov. Terry McAuliffe has limited power to order such an extension.
McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy said an extension would require action by the General Assembly. “Unfortunately, the registration deadline is set by the code and we processed as many as we could,” Coy said.
On Monday, Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortés sent an email to voter registrars across the state saying his agency was experiencing a “surge in activity” due to voting promotions by Facebook and Google that caught state officials by surprise.