Voter registration problems in Va. prompt federal lawsuit

WASHINGTON — Problems with Virginia’s online voter registration system prevented some people from registering to vote this week, and now a civil rights group has filed a federal lawsuit against state election officials demanding that the registration deadline be extended.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, argues an unknown number of Virginians were deprived of their constitutional right to vote because they tried to register before Monday’s deadline but could not access the system.

Election officials say the system was experiencing outages and was overwhelmed by unprecedented activity, with more than 21,000 people registering over the course of the day.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday by the Washington-based Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, seeks an extension of the registration deadline of at least three days.

But that might be difficult, if not impossible: A spokesman for Gov. Terry McAuliffe tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch that an extension would require action by the General Assembly because the deadline is set in state law.

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