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Voter Registration Forms On Texas Secretary Of State Website Were Down For 24 Hours This Weekend

Voters cast ballots during the primary elections in March.
Gabriel C. Pérez
Voters cast ballots during the primary elections in March.

With the registration deadline only three days away, Texans looking for voter-registration forms on the Secretary of State's website this weekend got an error message for nearly a day. Applications for mail-in ballots were also inaccessible. Information about who's running for office this November was also knocked offline.

Service was restored by late Saturday.

The first reports on Twitter came in Friday night.


Error 503 - Are you kidding me?@BetoORourke @tedcruz @TXsecofstate @Vote @NatlVoterRegDay pic.twitter.com/KjoEUhZvCB— RUMOR HAS IT (@BrandiLynn4Ever) October 6, 2018

Texas does not have online voter registration, but users trying to request a registration application through a tool on the Secretary of State's website got an error message saying "the service is unavailable". The same error appeared when trying to download the form to fill out an application by hand or to request an application to vote by mail.

The Secretary of State's office acknowledged the problem earlier Saturday in a tweet.

In a tweet later Saturday the office said it was redirecting links to a new version of the registration form.

In an email Saturday evening, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State's office said they are still working on getting the tool that you can fill out online and print a prepared registration back online.  That tool was working again by late Saturday night.

"Initial analysis shows no security incident, but we will continue to conduct analysis to find out exactly why the server went down," wrote spokesman Sam Taylor.

In a subsequent email, Taylor wrote that "the statewide voter registration database was not impacted whatsoever — it is on a completely different system."

The deadline to register to vote is looming. Voters must register by the end of Tuesday, Oct. 9.  

There are other methods of accessing voter-registration forms, including from county election offices. Applications for ballots by mail, which must be received by local election officials by Oct. 26, are also available from many county election offices. 

Copyright 2018 KUT 90.5

Matt has been a reporter at KUT off and on since 2006. He came to Austin from Boston, then went back for a while--but couldn't stand to be away--so he came back to Austin. Matt grew up in Maine (but hates lobster), and while it might sound hard to believe, he thinks Maine and Texas are remarkably similar.