A severed fiber optic cable shut down Virginia's online voter registration system Tuesday, the last day to register before the November general election, per the AP. The Virginia Department of Elections said in statement that a “fiber cut” was affecting connectivity for multiple agencies, including the citizen portal and registrar's offices, and technicians were working to repair the problem. The Virginia Information Technologies Agency said the cable was inadvertently cut during a Chesterfield County roadside utilities project but had no estimate on when it would be repaired. The Washington Post reports that election officials in northern Virginia have been forced to register voters using paper forms.
This isn't the first time technical problems affected Virginians' ability to register to vote under a looming deadline. In 2016, an unknown number of people were not able to register because of unprecedented demand. A voter advocacy group, the New Virginia Majority Education Fund, sued for an extension and a federal judge granted a brief one to make up for the computer glitches that occurred. Kristen Clarke, executive director of the lawyers' group that filed the 2016 lawsuit, said in a statement that Virginia election officials “have again failed the public.” (Virginia's governor was a possible kidnapping target.)
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