Virginia’s voter registration site goes offline on deadline date

The outage was attributable to a damaged cable close to the Commonwealth Enterprise Options Heart.

James Martin/PJDM

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

The final probability to register to vote in Virginia must be offline, after a severed cable took the state’s voter registration web site down on Tuesday. It is the final day to register to vote within the state, however the outage may probably lock out 1000’s of voters. 

Election officers already anticipated a surge of voters for the 2020 presidential race, a lot of whom could be registering on-line due to the coronavirus pandemic. Whereas its web site is down, Virginia’s division of elections is encouraging folks to register to vote by printing out a paper utility. 

“As a result of a community outage the Citizen Portal is quickly unavailable,” a notice on the voter registration website stated. “We’re working with our community suppliers to revive service as shortly as doable.”

The outage was attributable to a lower fiber cable close to the Commonwealth Enterprise Options Heart, the division of elections stated. The lower cable affected a number of of Virginia’s web sites, not simply the voter registration website. 

It is unclear when the methods will likely be again on-line, however the Virginia Info Applied sciences Company stated 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 due to the outage. 

“I’m formally calling for Virginia’s Registration Deadline to be prolonged past in the present day as a result of service outages impacting voters’ skill to register statewide,” Fairfax said on Twitter

The Division of Elections didn’t reply to a request for touch upon if it could be extending the voter registration deadline.

Voters in Florida skilled an analogous scenario when the state’s voter registration web site crashed on its deadline date for seven hours. Florida’s election officers prolonged the deadline by seven hours the subsequent day, however a state choose estimated that about 21,722 people were potentially disenfranchised from voting, even with the extension. 

The technical difficulties surrounding the voter registration course of might be used for disinformation campaigns, which look to sow discord about democracy by social media. Up to now, foreign disinformation efforts have used voting machine glitches and pictures of lengthy traces to counsel that the election outcomes are rigged.

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Alfred Ng