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October 13, 2020

The Virginia American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU-VA) is urging that immediate action be taken over the failed online voter registration system.

This morning the Virginia Department of Elections was alerted that a fiber cut near the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center was impacting data circuits and VPN connectivity for multiple agencies, including the citizen portal along with registrar’s offices. We urge that action be taken to assure that every Virginia can register to vote.

The following statement may be attributed to ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga:

“The ACLU of Virginia is deeply concerned about reports that some people have been unable to register to vote on the final day of registration due to connectivity issues that resulted from a fiber cable being cut that impacted the availability of the Virginia State Department of Elections’ online system.

“The Department is responsible for ensuring we have a uniform system of voting and that every citizen has the opportunity to register to vote, especially this year when we’re facing especially high demand in an already uncertain election season. 

“The Department of Elections should have begun exploring every alternative to address this issue since it first learned of the system issue this morning. That includes asking its lawyer, the Attorney General of Virginia, to seek a court order to allow extension of the time to register if the Department believes it cannot take remedial action on its own. Because it was the state’s failure to successfully operate the voter registration system, it is the state’s burden to remedy this injustice. We urge the Department to take any and all measures necessary to protect and ensure the fundamental right to vote in the 2020 election, including extending the time to register or suing to obtain authority to do so, so that no Virginian is denied the opportunity to register because their ability to do so may have been compromised by the failure of a legally required registration system.”