‘Accidentally’ Cut Cable Wreaks Havoc on Final Day of Voter Registration

Virginia residents hoping to register to vote on the final day of voter registration for the November elections were out of luck Tuesday after the state’s online registration system went down due to what was described as an accident.

Anyone wanting to register online got this message on the state’s online portal: “Due to a network outage the Citizen Portal is temporarily unavailable.”

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The Virginia Information Technology Agency indicated on Twitter that a fiber cable cut near Route 10 in Chester, Virginia, was the cause.

“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,” Virginia Department of Elections spokeswoman Andrea Gaines said in a statement.

Is this accident a bit suspicious?

“This has affected the Department’s citizen portal along with local registrar’s offices across the Commonwealth. Technicians are on site and working to repair the cut; updates will be provided as work progresses.”

Other state agencies were also affected, according to WTOP-TV.

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No estimate of when the voter registration site would be back online was available early Tuesday afternoon.

Virginia voters still have the options of going to elections offices in person to register or sending their registration applications by mail.

Some on Twitter wondered about the timing of the service interruption.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax called for the registration deadline to be extended in light of the complication.

Fairfax County elections director Gary Scott said early voting is able to take place using backup poll books, but other processes have been halted by the outage.

“Unfortunately, I’ve got 300 staff sitting around here waiting to mail out absentee ballots and process registration applications who really can’t do anything,” he said. “Everything else has come to a stop.”

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