Voter Registration in Virginia Inadvertently Halted by Severed Optic Cable

The government elections agency in the U.S. state of Virginia said Tuesday its voter registration system was shut down by a fiber optic cable that had been accidentally severed on the last day of registration before the Nov. 3 general election. The shutdown affected connectivity for the citizens’ registration portal, the election registrar’s office and multiple other state agencies, the Virginia Department of Elections said in a statement. The agency said technicians were working to repair the cable that the Virginia Information Technologies Agency said was cut during a utilities project in Chesterfield County. The state did not say when connectivity would be restored. Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has called for the registration deadline to be extended due to the service outage. In 2016, an undetermined number of Virginia residents were unable to meet the voter registration deadline because of unprecedented demand. A federal judge granted a brief extension of the deadline after a lawsuit by the New Virginia Majority Education Fund. On Tuesday, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, which filed the 2016 lawsuit on behalf of the fund, swiftly denounced the disruption, saying Virginia election officials “have again failed the public.”  

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