Va. Election System Crashes (again) on Final Day of Voter Registration

Va. Election System Crashes (again) on Final Day of Voter Registration

October 14, 2020

On the final day of voter registration, a massive outage of the Virginia Election System as well as the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Virginia Employment Commission has left countless Virginians wondering if their registration will be counted.

Yesterday’s outage wasn’t the first time the Commonwealth’s voting system has come under scrutiny for lax security procedures. In 2016, the voter information system also crashed on the last day of voter registration which prompted an independent investigation by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC). In the study, the Commission pointed to an aging IT system, lack of reviews to confirm voters are assigned to the correct districts and a sense of politics invading the state’s Department of Elections.

In a 2018 interview with WRVA Radio, Gov. Northam brushed off the concerned cited by the Joint Legislative Review Commission.  “We’ve made a lot of changes and I don’t think Virginians should worry that this is going to happen again.”

But, in his press conference yesterday, Northam took a far less indignant tone related to Virginia’s election system by admitting that the state did not have a back-up plan for the severed cable that the caused the outage on the last day of voter registration. “Obviously, we still have a lot of work to do,” Northam said.

In a 2018 meeting with the State Board of Elections, Virginia Voter Registrars expressed their concern over automatic voter registration through the Department of Motor Vehicles which prompted Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp to warn his fellow prosecutors to be weary of prosecuting certain voter fraud cases due to the “glitch” in the system.

“I believe that all Commonwealth’s Attorneys should be made aware of this issue because there may be a considerable risk of unfair prosecution of certain individuals statewide,” Slemp said after local voter registrars brought the issues to his attention.

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