Voting Rights Organizations File Lawsuit to Extend Virginia’s Voter Registration After Statewide Voting System Failure - Advancement Project - Advancement Project

Voting Rights Organizations File Lawsuit to Extend Virginia’s Voter Registration After Statewide Voting System Failure

ALEXANDRIA, Va.– Tonight, a coalition of voting rights groups filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia against the Virginia Department of Elections and the Virginia State Board of Elections to extend Virginia’s voter registration deadline after the Commonwealth’s voting systems went down earlier today, the last day that Virginians can register to vote.

The lawsuit was filed this evening by Virginia Civic Engagement Table, New Virginia Majority, League of Women Voters of Virginia, Advancement Project National Office, and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The groups are seeking to extend the online voter registration deadline for 48 hours after the system is restored and are asking Virginia to undertake a public campaign to help notify Virginians of this change. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signaled he would support a court-ordered extension of the deadline at a press conference this afternoon.

The groups are also seeking a one-day extension of Virginia’s early voting period, as the outage also interfered with early voting; some individuals attempting to early vote today were instead only offered the opportunity to fill out a provisional ballot. The groups suggest that, in order to provide adequate relief for impacted voters, Virginia must implement an additional day of early voting and take affirmative steps to ensure that the provisional ballots that were cast today are counted.

“Virginians’ voting rights shouldn’t be hanging by a fiber-optic cable,” said Jorge Vasquez, Power and Democracy Director of Advancement Project National Office. “Extending the registration and early voting deadlines is the only way that Virginia can adequately address the harm this outage has caused to voters. We know the Commonwealth recognizes that this mishap has interfered with Virginians’ fundamental right to vote; we’re calling on Virginia to do right by its voters.”

“The Commonwealth failed the public and it must grant a significant extension to ensure all Virginians are given an equal opportunity to exercise their fundamental right to vote,” said Kristen Clarke, President and Executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Extending the registration deadline is a common-sense step that can be taken to address the potential disenfranchisement of thousands of eligible people across Virginia. This now marks two presidential election cycles in a row in which the state’s registration system has collapsed and we hope that this will counsel in favor of stronger systems and backstops to prevent mass disenfranchisement in the future.”

“All Virginians who are eligible to vote have a right to make their voices heard in our democracy, and the state has an obligation to ensure that all eligible voters have that access,” said Irene Shin, Executive Director of the Virginia Civic Engagement Table. “We’re not asking for anything more than for the courts and the Board of Elections to fix what was broken today. In order to right this wrong, the Board of Elections must grant an extension of the deadline.”

“Our democracy is strongest when we all have an opportunity to participate in our free and fair elections,” said Tram Nguyen, co-Executive Director of New Virginia Majority. “The system-wide failure impacted Virginians across the Commonwealth, preventing people from registering to vote for the first time or updating their registrations, and prevented many voters from casting a regular ballot during in-person early voting. To ensure that every Virginian has an opportunity to participate in our democracy, it is imperative that the court provides the requested relief for those affected. Just as we have done in the past, New Virginia Majority will continue to defend Virginians’ access to the ballot box.”

“This is not the first time Virginia has had glitches with its voter registration website during prime times. With more than 5 million eligible voters in Virginia, it is crucial that the system can handle this large volume in voter interest,” said Deb Wake, President of the League of Women Voters of Virginia. “Voters must not be silenced due to technical difficulties. The League is stepping in to make sure voters are given the opportunities they deserve to exercise their right to vote in this important election.”

 

###

 

Advancement Project National Office is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change. Visit www.advancementproject.org/home to learn more.

 

About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes.  For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org.

 

The Virginia Civic Engagement Table is a statewide organization that serves a broad network of partners across the Commonwealth with a concentration in Northern Virginia, greater Richmond, and the tidewater region (which includes Newport News, Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach). Our work is rooted in advancing economic, social, environmental, gender, and especially racial justice, as fundamental values that can end systems of oppression. For more information, visit our website.

 

New Virginia Majority builds power in working-class communities of color, in immigrant communities, among LGBTQ people, women, youth, and progressives across the Commonwealth. We organize for racial and economic justice through large-scale political education, mobilization and advocacy around dozens of issues. We fight for a Virginia that is just, democratic and environmentally sustainable. For more information, visit our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook at @NewVAMajority

 

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan, grassroots civic organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. With 100 years of experience, the League is one of America’s oldest and most trusted civic nonprofit organizations.

 

 

KEEP READING

We sued to extend Virginia’s voter registration deadline. Now voters must use it!

The 2020 election will be one of the most important elections of our lifetime, and it is important that every Virginia voter who wants to cast a ballot register by 11:59 pm tonight, October 15.

Read More
Voting Rights Organizations Celebrate Legal Victory Extending Virginia Voter Registration Deadline Through October 15

A U.S. District Court ruled that Virginia must extend the voter registration deadline to Thursday, October 15 to remedy the harm caused to voters when the state’s voting systems went down on the final day of voter registration.

Read More
Voting Rights Organizations Resolve to Protect Florida Voters as State Continues History of Voter Suppression

On Friday, October 9, a coalition of voting rights organizations reacted to a court’s decision not to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline after the state’s online registration system crashed on Monday.

Read More
New Research Indicates Racial Justice is Top Factor Motivating Young Voters of Color

National poll reveals structural inequality, police brutality and coronavirus pandemic are at top of minds for young voters of color heading to the polls WASHINGTON— Young voters of color say they are headed to the polls in November because they want to see change around systemic inequality and racism, according to a series of focus groups and findings from a recent poll released today by Advancement Project National Office. The data was collected as a part of the organization’s Young Voters of Color Get Out the Vote Campaign. The campaign, which launches today, aims to motivate and mobilize young people of…

Read More
Voting Rights Organizations File Lawsuit in Florida to Extend Voter Registration Deadline as Online Voter Registration System Crashes

A coalition of voting rights groups filed a lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee to extend the voter registration deadline after the state's online registration system crashed.

Read More
Advancement Project National Office joins Oprah Winfrey, NAACP for OWN Your Vote National Town Hall

Advancement Project National Office will today join Oprah Winfrey in discussion of her new initiative, OWN Your Vote, along with the NAACP and other leaders in the fight for voting rights. The OWN Your Vote initiative is focused specifically on mobilizing Black women to vote. What: OWN Your Vote: Our Lives Depend On It is a virtual conversation aimed to inspire and equip thousands of voters and community leaders with specific steps they can take to register to vote, request their absentee ballots, and mobilize voters throughout their community. Who: The conversation will include remarks from: Judith Browne Dianis,…

Read More
Election 2020: How to Vote State Primers

As a part of our efforts to ensure voters, especially voters of color, have the tools they need to vote safely this year, Advancement Project National Office has developed state primers that provide critical information on how to vote.

Read More
Women Did That! 100 Years of the 19th Amendment

One hundred years ago today, the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote was ratified. Women’s suffrage was a century-long fight achieved through protest, advocacy and the legendary work of trailblazing women of color including Sojourner Truth, Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells. These women organized to combat racist policies, elect people of color to public office and create community institutions that provided mutual aid to their communities. Today, the nation cannot deny that women of color are a “…

Read More
Racial Justice Organization Issues Statement on Florida’s Amendment 4 Hearing

Advancement Project National Office issued a statement on Florida's Amendment 4 hearing. "No Floridian should have to choose between participating in democracy and food for their families, housing, childcare or transportation to work."

Read More