BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin apologized Wednesday for routine scheduled maintenance that shut down the state’s voter registration website on the evening of National Voter Registration Day.
The routine maintenance had been scheduled long ago to take place Tuesday and was an oversight, Ardoin said in a statement Wednesday, adding that it was “an unfortunate error for which I take full responsibility.”
The website was down from 8 p.m. to about 11:30 p.m., according to the secretary of state’s office. It was back up and running as of 7 a.m. Wednesday, The Advocate reported.
“Just last week, we sent registration information to over 100,000 identified eligible but unregistered citizens,” Ardoin said in the statement.
“This is beyond reprehensible,” tweeted New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell Tuesday night. “Absolute dereliction of duty, at such a critical time for our City and our nation. The LA SoS owes more to the people he serves.”
Rep. Royce Duplessis, a New Orleans Democrat and vice chair of the House and Governmental Affairs Committee, also took to Twitter to condemn the timing of the site’s shutdown, calling it a disgrace.
National Voter Registration Day, held annually on the fourth Tuesday of September, registered 800,000 voters in 2018 ahead of midterm elections. It began in 2012 for election boards and community organizations to make a big push to get people registered to vote.
Unlike most events recently, the Registration Day is supported by both Democrats and Republicans.
In addition to selecting the president Nov. 3, Louisiana voters also will be choosing a U.S. senator, all six representatives, two public service commissioners and two Louisiana Supreme Court justices.
Ardoin, a Republican, noted that voter registration is ongoing — about 90% of eligible Louisiana residents have signed up to participate — and anyone who wants to register or change their registration has until Oct. 5, if done by mail, or Oct. 13, if done online.