Virginia Voter Site Restored After Hourslong Outage

Virginia's Citizen Portal was restored at 4 p.m. after several hours of outages on the final day to register to vote

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The website on which Virginia residents can register to vote was down for several hours Tuesday, the final day to register in the commonwealth.

That site, Virginia's Citizen Portal, went down due to a cut fiber Tuesday morning, the Department of Elections said. The agency that works on cybersecurity for the commonwealth said on Twitter that a fiber cut near a data center in Chester, Virginia, caused the outage early Tuesday.

A roadside utility crew severed the fiber, a Verizon spokesperson said. That cut fiber affected "data circuits and virtual private network (VPN) connectivity for multiple Commonwealth agencies," said the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) earlier Tuesday.

Technicians have now completed a full repair of the circuit.

Service for the voter registration site was restored about 4 p.m.

Earlier Tuesday afternoon, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said he would support a court-ordered extension of the voter registration deadline but would leave the final decision up to the courts. 

“We are exploring all our options to extend our voter registration deadline,” he said at a news conference.

“Virginia: If you haven’t voted yet, go out and get it done. It’s easy, it’s safe and it’s very important," Northam said.

The outage also affected registrars' offices, the Virginia Employment Commission and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, officials said. The Virginia Department of Health website also appeared to be down until about 2:30 p.m.

What to Know About Other Ways to Register to Vote in Virginia:

  • Residents may also register to vote by mailing in or dropping off paper applications.
  • Anyone seeking to apply for voter registration can print and fill out a paper application. 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 office or a voter registration drive, the state says.
  • You can mail in the paper application or drop it off at an official registration office.
  • The deadline to submit the application is Tuesday.

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax said that outages were 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. A spokesperson didn't immediately reply to an inquiry about whether the deadline would be extended.

Northam was also the subject of another major headline Tuesday. 

Members of anti-government paramilitary groups discussed kidnapping him during a June meeting in Ohio, an FBI agent testified Tuesday during a court hearing for a group of men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan's governor. Read more here.

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