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Cut Fiber Optic Cable Knocks Virginia Voter Registration System Offline Hours Before Deadline

Illustration for article titled Cut Fiber Optic Cable Knocks Virginia Voter Registration System Offline Hours Before Deadline

Picture: Sarah Silbiger (Getty Photos)

On the last day for residents throughout Virginia to register to vote within the coming election, a number of web sites housing the state’s voter registration portal have been abruptly knocked offline. Now, native authorities are pinning the blame on a mysteriously minimize fiber optic cable.

The information comes courtesy of Virginia’s Division of Elections, which tweeted out earlier as we speak that the Virginia Info Applied sciences Company (VITA) had traced the outages again to a minimize fiber cable close to the Commonwealth Enterprise Options Middle, an almost 200,000 square-foot knowledge middle in Chester that has served Virginia’s state businesses for over a decade. In accordance with the Division of Elections, the minimize cable downed the voter registration portal and additionally “impacted” the netwebsite for the native voter’s registration workplace.

“Technicians are on website and dealing to restore; updates shall be offered as work progresses,” the company added, in a tweet timestamped simply earlier than 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday morning. As of this writing, each websites nonetheless return a web page apologizing that the citizen portal is unavailable resulting from a “community outage.”

It’s presently unclear who minimize the fiber optic cable or the way it was minimize.

Neither division provided a timeline for when both web site is likely to be anticipated to be on-line, and neither division responded to Gizmodo’s request for touch upon whether or not these portals may come again on-line earlier than finish of day.

Simply in case, it’s value pointing out right here that Virginia residents can nonetheless register to vote in particular person by means of an area registrar’s workplace, or by printing out a voter registration software and mailing it into their native board by the tip of as we speak. (It have to be postmarked for Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020.) Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax has additionally called for the state to prolong its voter registration deadline, however you shouldn’t rely on that taking place.

After Florida’s personal voter registration portal crashed in early October resulting from site visitors flooding its website, the state’s governor and secretary of state each pleaded with federal authorities to increase their very own voter registration deadline. Final week, a federal choose officially turned them down, on the grounds that the state’s failure “to determine the right way to run an election correctly” shouldn’t be grounds for an prolonged registration window.

However to place it bluntly, a website’s failure to deal with slightly bit extra site visitors than regular is greater than slightly completely different than the location’s bodily infrastructure being actually severed, which suggests Virginia’s case will probably be checked out a bit in a different way than Florida’s.

We’ve reached out to spokespeople at each VITA and the Virginia Division of Elections for remark, and can replace this story if we hear again.

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Shoshana Wodinsky