Richmond Mayor and ex-governor L. Douglas Wilder added his name to the growing chorus of those concerned about whether the key battleground state of Virginia is prepared for an expected deluge of voters on Election Day.

Wilder announcement calling on the state to extend poll hours by three hours comes two days after the NAACP sued the state of Virginia for not being adequately prepared for the historic election, and one day after Florida Gov. Charlie Crist issued an executive order expanding early voting sites and hours (Virginia does not have early voting). As Wilder stated:
"By all accounts, the presidential election of 2008 is expected to generate historic turnout, not only because of the significance of the race ... but also due to the record increase in voter registration," said Mr. Wilder, a Democrat.
Earlier this month, The Advancement Project issued a report that singled out Virginia as one of several key battleground states that may not be prepared for Election Day. The study especially looked at the shortage of voting machines in urban areas that could disproportionately disenfranchise black voters:
The [Advancement Project] said some minority precincts are most vulnerable to having a shortage of machines and workers. It said, for example, that in Virginia Beach, there were 11 percent more voters per machine and per poll worker in districts that were 25 to 50 percent minority than in districts in which minorities numbered less than 25 percent.
The fear that delays could cause citizens to lose their vote isn't unfounded. As USA Today reported:
In Virginia's Chesterfield County in February, nine precincts ran short of Democratic ballots, causing long lines. Nearly 300 voters were given scrap paper to cast their ballots, but the state refused to count them.
But Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, insists the state is ready -- and that in either case, the state has no authority to change election hours:
"There's no authority under [state] code to allow him to extend the election," Kaine spokesman Gordon Hickey said. A spokesman for the Virginia State Board of Elections said Tuesday only a federal court can issue such an order.
Wilder says that if a court order is necessary, that it should be pursued:
"If it's been done in Florida, it can be done in Virginia," Mr. Norman said. "If it's a request to be made in the courts, then that's the procedure to be followed to get the hours extended."