Virginia’s voter registration website was back up Tuesday afternoon after an outage that lasted about six hours on the commonwealth’s last day to register to vote ahead of the November election.
The Virginia Department of Elections on Tuesday afternoon said its citizen portal – which allows residents to register to vote, update information and check their registration status – was back up.
“Thank you everyone for your patience! The citizen portal is back up, you can go to http://elections.virginia.gov/voterinfo to register to vote, update information or check your registration status,” the department tweeted.
Thank you everyone for your patience! The citizen portal is back up, you can go to https://t.co/8vK06RBLHl to register to vote, update information or check your registration status.
– VA Dept of Elections (@vaELECT) October 13, 2020
The department earlier in the day said a cut fiber near the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center had affected the portal and the registrar’s offices.
Virginia faced a similar problem in 2016, when the website went down the final day to register to vote ahead of that year’s presidential election.
Ultimately, a judge ordered Virginia to extend its voter registration deadline in 2016 after civil rights groups sued for an extension due to the website crash.
Virginia Democrats have already pushed for the deadline to be extended this year due to the outage. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) and Democratic Reps. Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly and Jennifer Wexton have all called for an extension to the registration deadline due to the disruption.
“It is imperative that the deadline for Virginians to register to vote be extended. We hope the courts will swiftly grant such an extension, and we hope they will take into account the disruptions to registration that have already occurred and the time that it will take to inform the public about new opportunities to register,” the congressmembers said in a joint statement. “Given these important factors, we believe a 72-hour registration extension after the Department of Elections online portal is restored would be appropriate.”
On Tuesday evening, two civil rights group said they had filed a lawsuit seeking a 48-hour extension of the voter registration deadline as a result of the outage earlier in the day.
“The commonwealth failed the public and it must grant a significant extension to ensure all Virginians are given an equal opportunity to exercise their fundamental right to vote,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which filed its suit alongside the Advancement Project.
Updated at 6:54 p.m.