With less than three weeks away from the Nov. 3 general election, a fourth of Halifax County residents have voted as of Wednesday afternoon.
According to voter registrar Heather Harding, a total of 5,982 Halifax County voters had submitted absentee ballots or voted in person in Halifax.
This was after 317 voters had voted early in-person on Tuesday — the highest amount Harding had seen in a single day thus far.
She said they usually average about 200 voters a day in Halifax.
Tuesday also had been the deadline for Virginia residents to register to vote until the U.S. District Court granted an extension after a cut to a 10-gigabit optical fiber circuit in Chesterfield County shut down state several agencies’ online systems.
The local registrar said when she arrived to work at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday the online portal was down, and she said it was back up and running at about 2:45 p.m.
After the outage, New Virginia Majority Educational Fund, Virginia Civic Engagement Table and League of Women Voters of Virginia filed a complaint against the Virginia Department of Elections and the Virginia State Board of Elections and Commissioners requesting an extension. In response to the lawsuit, Attorney General Mark Herring filed a response brief saying he “agrees with Plaintiffs that an order from this court would vindicate the public interests of ensuring access to the voting booth and election integrity.”
In a hearing Wednesday morning, Judge John A. Gibney Jr. in the Eastern District of Virginia granted the extension extending the deadline to 11:59 p.m. Thursday.
Locally, Harding continued registering county residents Tuesday and after the extension.
“Fortunately, we have paper copies and up-to-date absentee records,” said Harding, who also noted that the outage did not effect early in-person voting.
“It just took an extra minute or two to get everyone checked in,” she added.
According to the local voter registrar, about a dozen Halifax County residents came to register to vote on Tuesday, many of whom who had tried to access the online portal and were unable.
Since June 24, a total of 896 county residents have registered to vote. The Commonwealth’s primary election was held on June 23.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Halifax County had 24,543 registered voters, and Harding said typically in a presidential election, roughly 73% of county voters participate.
The local registrar also said she has begun preprocessing ballots with 1,192 pre-processed so far.
Oct. 23 is the last day to request an absentee ballot by mail. Applications must be received in the Halifax County Voter Registration and Elections Office by 5 p.m. All absentee voted ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. or postmarked by Election Day.
The last day to vote in-person absentee is Saturday, Oct. 31.