Virginia voter registration system goes down on final day to register


Virginia’s voter registration website went down on Tuesday, the final day to register in the commonwealth ahead of Election Day, officials said. 

The Virginia Department of Elections said Tuesday morning officials were alerted that a fiber cut was impacting data circuits and VPN connectivity for multiple agencies, impacting the citizen portal and the registrar’s office. 

“Technicians are on site and working to repair; updates will be provided as work progresses,” officials tweeted as of 11 a.m. 

An official with the Virginia Department of Elections was not immediately available for comment when asked for an estimate on when the registration website may be back up. The department did not offer an estimated time in its Twitter update about the website outage.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) called for the voter registration deadline to be extended due to the website outage. 

“I am officially calling for Virginia’s Registration Deadline to be extended beyond today due to the service outages impacting voters’ ability to register statewide,” Fairfax tweeted. “We will work with the Administration to resolve this issue and ensure all voters have access to #Vote.”

Virginia faced a similar problem four years ago, when its system reportedly crashed the day of the voter registration deadline.

A judge ordered Virginia to extend its voter registration deadline in 2016 after civil rights groups, including the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, sued for the extension due to the website crash.

Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, slammed election officials in Virginia over Tuesday’s outage.

“Election officials in Virginia have again failed the public. The state’s online voter registration portal has crashed on the eve of the registration deadline, leaving thousands of eligible people in the dark. This error is particularly astounding given that this same problem occurred at virtually the same time in 2016,” Clarke said in a statement.

“It is astonishing that Virginia has not learned from failures of the not-so-distant past,” Clarke added.

— Updated at 11:40 a.m.

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