VIRGINIA (WRIC) — The state’s technology provider experienced outages Tuesday due to a Verizon fiber cable being cut during a sewer installation project in Chester, Virginia. This outage impacted Virginia’s voter registration site on the final day to register to vote.
The state’s technicians are on-site working to repair the damaged cable, Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) tweeted.
The fiber is located near the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center (CESC), VITA’s headquarters.
Chesterfield County said they’re working with the state and Verizon on the fiber issue. The county told 8News that it was a county contractor that cut the unmarked line.
“In accordance with the Virginia Underground Damage Prevention Act, utility operators are required to mark their underground utilities,” Chesterfield County said. “This line was not marked.”
The county said the State Corporation Commission is responsible for damage investigations and enforcement of the Act.
“A roadside utilities project crew severed fiber cables in Chesterfield that serve a data center managed by the Virginia Information Technology Agency (VITA),” Verizon said in a statement to 8News.
Due to the outage, state agency websites like DMV, Virginia Tax Alert, Virginia Employment Commission and Virginia’s online voter registration are not working.
In the meantime, voters can complete their voter registration at http://elections.virginia.gov or your local registrar’s office.
Joyce Fogg with the Virginia Employment Commission told 8News that the outage is impacting their website and that Virginians are not able to update their information or file a claim. No word yet on when this will be fixed.
The DMV said that all appointments affected by this outage will be rescheduled.
During a press briefing with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, Virginia Secretary of Administration Keyanna Conner said they hope to have a temporary solution in place by 4 p.m. that will services back online.
Conner said the cable was installed this spring to help high traffic-related to online COVID-19 services.
Governor Northam said the fiber cut impacted connectivity to much of Virginia’s government system. State leaders like Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax and Former Governor Terry McAuliffe have already called for an extension to the voter registration deadline.
“We have been exploring all of our options to extend the voter Registration deadline. That deadline is set in our code and it does not appear that I have the authority to change it,” Gov. Northam said.
Northam added that he would support a court ordered extension of the deadline.
The governor also expressed concerns with VITA which provides the state’s IT infrastructure.
“It reaffirms why we need back ups to our system,” Northam said.