Virginia's online voter registration system crashes on final day

Tuesday is the deadline for new voters in Virginia to register for November's election.


A computer outage on the final day of voter registration in Virginia has taken down the online registration system statewide.

Visitors to the state portal were met Tuesday with this message: "Due to a network outage the Citizen Portal is temporarily unavailable."

The site is used for first-time registrations as well as registration updates. It also allows Virginians to apply for an absentee ballot and see the location of their in-person polling place. The elections department also allows registration through a paper form that can be mailed in but must be postmarked Tuesday, the deadline for new voters to register for November's election.

Elections department spokeswoman Andrea Gaines said the problem was a cut fiber cable. She did not have an estimate on when the system would be back up but said work to restore the service is underway.

"This morning the Department of Elections was alerted by the Virginia Information Technology Agency that a fiber cut near Rt. 10 in Chester near the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center (CESC) was impacting data circuits and virtual private network (VPN) connectivity for multiple Commonwealth agencies," Gaines said in a statement. "This has affected the Department's citizen portal along with local registrar's offices across the Commonwealth."

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The outage led the state's lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, to ask for an extension of the deadline.

"I am officially calling for Virginia's Registration Deadline to be extended beyond today due to the service outages impacting voters' ability to register statewide," Fairfax said.

Department of Elections officials did not immediately comment on whether registration would be extended.