Voter registration website, ballot tracker goes down

Published 2:20 pm Tuesday, October 13, 2020

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A severed fiber optic cable caused the Virginia Department of Elections’ citizen portal to go down for several hours the morning of Oct. 13.

The portal allows state residents to register to vote and track their mail-in ballots online.

The connectivity break occurred off of Route 10 in Chesterfield County near the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center, according to a statement the Department of Elections posted to its Facebook page. According to a press release from the Virginia Information Technologies Agency, which provides IT services to multiple state departments, work crews engaged in a Chesterfield County roadside utility project had inadvertently struck the fiber cable.

The citizen portal and other affected state websites, including the Virginia Department of Health’s daily COVID-19 dashboard, appear to have been restored as of shortly before 1 p.m.

Oct. 13 was supposed to be the last day for Virginians to register to vote in time for the November election. During a 2 p.m. press conference, Gov. Ralph Northam said he doesn’t have the power to extend the voter registration deadline due to the down time, but supports a court order to do so. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is considering legal options, Northam said.