PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia’s online voter registration system went down Tuesday for most of the day, on the last day of registration for this year’s election, after a Verizon fiber optic cable was “inadvertently” cut, the Virginia Information Technologies Agency says.
Just before 3:30 p.m., the Virginia Department of Elections reported that the portal was back in operation.
The issue impacted the virtual private network (VPN) connectivity for several state agencies, including the department of elections, the DMV, Virginia Department of Health, and Virginia Employment Commission.
At noon, VITA said technicians were working to fix the cut, which happened near Route 10 in Chester. In a press release at 12:45 p.m., VITA said the fiber optic line was “inadvertently struck as part of activities related to a Chesterfield County roadside utilities project,” which is near VITA’s headquarters.
The issue was first reported around 7:30 a.m.
The deadline to register to vote in Virginia is Tuesday, October 13, the same day as the outage.
Because of the mishap, the Virginia NAACP wants to extend voter registration by 72 hours.
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Governor Ralph Northam said he supports pushing back the deadline.
“We have been exploring all of our options to extend the voter registration deadline,” said Governor Northam. “That deadline is set in our code, and it does not appear that I have the authority to change it. That is up to the courts, and I would support a court order extension of the deadline.”
Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax is also calling for the registration deadline to be extended because of the outage.
Additional information on early voting:
There are several ways you can register to vote.
- In-person registering at your local registrar’s office ends at 5 p.m.
- Online registration ends at 11:59 p.m.
- Mail registration just needs a postmark with today’s date (Tuesday, October 13)
Once you register, you can now request an absentee ballot by mail or go vote early in-person (through Oct. 31), or wait until Election Day (Nov. 3) to cast your ballot. If you register in-person, you can vote the same day.
Virginia is already seeing record numbers of early voting in 2020, now that every registered Virginian has the right to vote early.
To check your registration status, register to vote, learn about the candidates and more, check out WAVY’s 2020 Voter Guide.