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.”
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.
Officials in Florida are also dealing with the fallout from a voter registration computer system failure.
They issued a short extension of the registration window, but a federal court turned down a petition to grant a longer extension.
The judge noted in a blistering opinion that Florida, home to NASA space launch facilities, has chronic election issues.
“Florida has failed to figure out how to run an election properly — a task simpler than rocket science,” Judge Mark E. Walker wrote.
This story has been updated with additional details.
CNN’s Curt Devine contributed to this report.