Virginia Shuts Down Elections Portal Ahead of Key GOP Deadline andidate for Governor of Virginia, Pete Snyder (center) gestures as he talks to delegates during the opening of the Virginia Republican convention in Richmond, Va., May 17, 2013. The top GOP contenders for governor in Virginia said "election integrity" was a high priority. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
By Brian Freeman | Tuesday, 13 April 2021 10:26 AM
Some Virginia Republicans missed the deadline for registering for the party's upcoming convention because the state's Department of Elections shut down its voter information portal for "scheduled maintenance" during the last day GOP voters in the commonwealth's largest county were allowed to sign up for the event, The Washington Free Beacon has reported.
The website was shut down on April 9, a day before the deadline for Republicans in Fairfax County to register to take part in the convention on May 8, when the GOP is nominating their candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general.
Republicans are using this technique to nominate their candidates, rather than the state's primary system, as the Democrats do.
When voters attempted to locate their required voter number on the website, an error page read, "We are in the process of performing updates to the Citizen Portal. Due to these changes, the Citizen Portal is temporarily unavailable."
Mike Beer, a Fairfax County voter who missed the deadline due to the website's outage, told the Free Beacon that "Virginia voters don't carry their voter ID numbers around on them in case the state's computer system is on the blink. … the end result is that I missed the convention deadline because I couldn't furnish the state ID number."
He emphasized the unfairness of what happened, asking, "Who expects to have the Virginia Election website down for three days in the middle of the convention process and deadlines?"
A Virginia Department of Elections spokesman said the decision to have the scheduled maintenance from April 9 to April 12 was made months ago "to ensure maintenance was completed prior to the start of absentee voting for the state-run primary on April 23."
But Peter Doran, a Republican businessman running for governor, blamed the Democrats, saying the website shutdown at such an inconvenient time is a result of "one-party rule" by Democrats, who control both the legislature and governor's mansion.
Democrats "talk a big game about expanding voting access, but apparently that does not apply to people who do not vote for them," Doran said.
Matt Wolking, spokesman for Glenn Youngkin, former CEO of the Carlyle Group and current gubernatorial candidate, said that the portal’s outage was yet another example of Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s incompetence.
"Virginians have had their unemployment aid languish, their vaccine rollout botched, their parole board corrupted, their jobs crushed, and their economy hurt by the career politicians in Democrat-controlled Richmond," Wolking said. "Now they shut down the state's website hours before the largest county's deadline to participate in the May 8 Republican convention."
In an attempt to get around the shutting down of the portal and register in time for the convention, Youngkin’s campaign set up a hotline for voters to call to help them find their voter numbers.