Virginia voter registration portal restored after fiber cut caused outage

A man casts his ballot for the 2020 presidential election at an early voting location in Alexandria. Voters in Virginia will now be able to register until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday in person or online

"The team has learned that the fiber was inadvertently struck as part of activities associated with a roadside utilities project".

Gibney agreed, but added he would direct the Commissioner of the Department of Elections to issue a news release and inform all local registrars about the decision by 11:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Voting rights advocates criticized state officials for the registration portal shutdown, saying it came at the worst possible time.

Tuesday was the final day to register to vote in-person, online or by mail in Virginia.

New Virginia Majority Education Fund and a coalition of groups filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Richmond to extend the deadline for voter registration.

Among several groups that filed a petition for an extension following the outage, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a lawsuit arguing that without a voter registration extension, voters who were "unable through no fault of their own, will be absolutely disenfranchised in the upcoming elections".

"You can't go back in time to register people", Gibney said, before granting a motion to extend the deadline. This extension is critical to ensuring that no eligible voter across Virginia is locked out and penalized as a result of the state's failure. "Since I was Governor, Virginia has been a leader in protecting people's right to vote, and we will always stand up against any kind of potential disenfranchisement", said former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe in a statement. But he said it appears that only the courts have the ability to change it. Northam also said the state did not have a backup plan for the severed cable but that the disruption highlighted the need for the state to continue efforts to develop a secure network. Northam said during an afternoon news conference in Richmond. She said officials were optimistic that a temporary fix would be in place by 4 p.m. Tuesday and were working with Verizon for a permanent fix.

Virginia, which has 13 electoral votes, is not considered a marquee battleground state in the presidential race by political observers.

Democratic freshmen Reps. Abigail Spanberger and Elaine Luria are facing tough challenges in the 7th District and 2nd District, respectively, and the 5th District seat is open.

Those who want to register to vote can do so online here. Among those affected is Virginia's Department of Elections.

In 2016, an unknown number of people were not able to register because of computer glitches amid unprecedented demand spurred by social media reminders.

Great, you're signed up!

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