Virginia’s voter registration site goes offline on deadline date

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The outage was caused by a broken cable near the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center.


James Martin/CNET

This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

The last chance to register to vote in Virginia will have to be offline, after a severed cable took the state’s voter registration website down on Tuesday. It’s the last day to register to vote in the state, but the outage could potentially lock out thousands of voters. 

Election officials already anticipated a surge of voters for the 2020 presidential race, many of whom would be registering online because of the coronavirus pandemic. While its website is down, Virginia’s department of elections is encouraging people to register to vote by printing out a paper application. 

“Due to a network outage the Citizen Portal is temporarily unavailable,” a notice on the voter registration website said. “We are working with our network providers to restore service as quickly as possible.”

The outage was caused by a cut fiber cable near the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center, the department of elections said. The cut cable affected several of Virginia’s websites, not just the voter registration site. 

It’s unclear when the sites will be back online, but the Virginia Information Technologies Agency said on Tuesday morning that technicians were working on-site to repair the cut


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Justin Fairfax, Virginia’s lieutenant governor, is pushing for an extension to the voter registration deadline because of 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