Virginia voter registration website goes down on last day to register

Sophia Barnes
Voters cast their ballots for the 2020 election at an early, in-person voting location in Arlington, Virginia, on September 18, 2020.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

Virginia's Citizen Portal has gone down due to a cut fiber on Tuesday, preventing people from registering to vote online on the last day of voter registration in the state, the Department of Elections says.

Residents can still register to vote by mailing in or dropping off paper applications.

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax said the outages are 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.

The outage is also affecting registrar's offices, the Virginia Department of Elections said on Twitter.

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The Citizen Portal, which allows voters to register online, was temporarily unavailable on Tuesday morning, a message posted on the website said.

"We are working with our network providers to restore service as quickly as possible," the message said.

It's unclear when online registration will be available again.

Anyone seeking to apply for voter registration can instead print and fill out a paper application. You can mail in the paper application or drop it off at an official registration office. The deadline to submit the application is Tuesday.

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 offices or a voter registration drive, the state says.

The Virginia Information Technologies Agency, which works on cybersecurity for the state, said on Twitter that a fiber cut near a data center in Chester caused the outage. The agency said technicians are working to repair it.

The cut fiber "is impacting data circuits and virtual private network (VPN) connectivity for multiple Commonwealth agencies," VITA said.

Verizon technicians were on site and working to repair the cut Tuesday morning, Virginia Department of Elections spokesperson Andrea Gaines said.

Paper applications to vote by mail can also be printed online.