Virginia Extends Voter Registration Deadline Until Oct. 15 After Website Outage : NPR

Virginia’s online voter registration system went down on the worst day possible: the last day that residents are allowed to register to vote.

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A federal judge in Richmond has ruled that Virginia must extend online and in-person voter registration until 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 15.

The order comes after a construction project accidentally cut a fiber internet line yesterday that took down several state websites, including the Department of Elections website on the last day of voter registration.

U.S. Judge John A. Gibney Jr. made the ruling early Wednesday morning in a lawsuit brought by several voter rights groups.

“There’s really not a lot of harm to the Commonwealth and the state registrars by extending the period of registration in this case,” Gibney Jr. said in the teleconference hearing, “but there is tremendous harm to the people who want to register to vote and to the people who are helping people register to vote.”

Attorney General Mark Herring, who supported the lawsuit, announced the news on Twitter as well.

Voter advocates filed a lawsuit Tuesday to extend Virginia’s deadline.

“Eligible Virginia citizens should not have to pay the price for this technological failure. Unless the voter registration deadline is extended to October 15, 2020, Plaintiffs’ members and others will be deprived of their constitutional right to vote in the November 3, 2020, election,” reads the suit filed by the New Virginia Majority Education Fund, the Virginia Civic Engagement Table and the League of Women Voters of Virginia.

Problems erupted early Tuesday morning when voters noticed they could not access online registration. The

Virginia voter registration website back up after outage on last day to register

Virginia’s voter registration website was back up Tuesday afternoon after an outage that lasted about six hours on the commonwealth’s last day to register to vote ahead of the November election.



Virginia voter registration website back up after outage on last day to register


© The Hill
Virginia voter registration website back up after outage on last day to register

The Virginia Department of Elections on Tuesday afternoon said its citizen portal – which allows residents to register to vote, update information and check their registration status – was back up.

“Thank you everyone for your patience! The citizen portal is back up, you can go to http://elections.virginia.gov/voterinfo to register to vote, update information or check your registration status,” the department tweeted.

The department earlier in the day said a cut fiber near the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center had affected the portal and the registrar’s offices.

Virginia faced a similar problem in 2016, when the website went down the final day to register to vote ahead of that year’s presidential election.

Ultimately, a judge ordered Virginia to extend its voter registration deadline in 2016 after civil rights groups sued for an extension due to the website crash.

Virginia Democrats have already pushed for the deadline to be extended this year due to the outage. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) and Democratic Reps. Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly and Jennifer Wexton have all called for an extension to the registration deadline due to the disruption.

“It is imperative that the deadline for Virginians to register to vote be extended. We hope the courts will swiftly grant such an extension, and we hope they will take into account

A cut cable causes Virginia voter website to crash on final day of registration for election

Virginia’s voter registration website went down on Tuesday, the final day for people in the state to register ahead of Election Day. As of early Tuesday afternoon, the website¬†was still not working.¬†

“Due to a network outage, the Citizen Portal is temporarily unavailable,” the Virginia Department of Elections wrote on its site Tuesday morning.¬†

Officials said on Twitter that a “fiber cut” in Chester, near the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center, impacted connectivity for multiple state agencies. The cut cable, which appeared to be an accident, affected both the voting portal and the registrar’s offices.¬†

“We are working with our network providers to restore service as quickly as possible,” the department said. “Please check back later for your online voter registration or absentee needs.”

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Voters looking to register were directed to this statement from the Virginia Department of Elections during the outage on October 13, 2020.

Virginia Department of Elections


The department said it would provide updates via Twitter. 

The website currently directs voters to fill out and print a paper application for voter registration and a paper application for voting by mail. 

When asked for comment by CBS News, the Virginia Department of Elections said the department is still working to fix the outage. No further updates were provided. 

Angry voters are taking to social media to demand a deadline extension, calling the outage “voter suppression.” Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax called on the state to extend the voter registration deadline due to the 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 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.



a stack of flyers on a table: Virginia voter registration system goes down on final day to register


© Getty
Virginia voter registration system goes down on final day to register

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

Virginia voter registration website goes down on last day to register

Voters cast their ballots for the 2020 election at an early, in-person voting location in Arlington, Virginia, on September 18, 2020.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

Virginia’s Citizen Portal has gone down due to a cut fiber on Tuesday, preventing people from registering to vote online on the last day of voter registration in the state, the Department of Elections says.

Residents can still register to vote by mailing in or dropping off paper applications.

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax¬†said the outages are reported statewide and called for the voter registration deadline to be extended beyond Tuesday. However, the Board of Elections hasn’t announced plans to adjust the deadline.

The outage is also affecting registrar’s offices, the Virginia Department of Elections said on Twitter.

More from NBC4 Washington:

The Citizen Portal, which allows voters to register online, was temporarily unavailable on Tuesday morning, a message posted on the website said.

“We are working with our network providers to restore service as quickly as possible,” the message said.

It’s unclear when online registration will be available again.

Anyone seeking to apply for voter registration can instead print and fill out a paper application. You can mail in the paper application or drop it off at an official registration office. The deadline to submit the application is Tuesday.

You can also pick up a paper voter registration application at a local voter registration office, public libraries, a Virginia Department of Elections office, a Department of Motor Vehicles offices or a voter registration drive, the state says.

The Virginia Information Technologies Agency, which works on cybersecurity for the state, said on Twitter that a fiber cut near a data center in Chester caused the outage. The agency said technicians are working to repair it.

The cut fiber “is impacting data circuits