An “unexpected issue” is being blamed for the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website and several other state agency websites being down for several hours this week — just 12 days before the 2023 statewide election.
Basic voting info housed on the Secretary of State’s website like polling place locations, sample ballots and campaign finance reports were inaccessible for several hours between the evening of Oct. 25 through much of the morning on Oct. 26.
The Secretary of State’s office announced Thursday morning that “most” website services had been restored. As of about 11 a.m. on Thursday, most of the state’s websites appeared to be back online.
The Mississippi Information Technology Services agency, which manages the state’s website servers, issued a public statement Thursday around 12:30 p.m.
“Late in the afternoon on Wednesday, October 25, the state network which provides connectivity to many state agencies encountered an error that created an unexpected issue,” the statement said. “Since the initial event, the network has been intermittently unresponsive. Immediately, ITS engineers along with high level contract support began work to troubleshoot the issues. They have continued their work around the clock; however, the situation has yet to be fully resolved.”
Some state employees who manage state website domains received an email Thursday morning that said Tyler Technologies, a company the state contracts with to manage its servers, was aware of the outages.
The email, shared with Mississippi Today, said: “SERVICE INTERRUPTION: Please be advised, Tyler Mississippi is currently experiencing issues affecting connectivity to the following: MS.GOV hosted services including websites and .NET applications. All teams have been engaged to pinpoint and assist in resolving the underling (sic) issue.”
Earlier in the week, the state website managers had received notice that Tyler Mississippi would be installing updates for the websites from Oct. 25 8 p.m. until Oct. 26 at 12 a.m.
The state’s IT agency said in its Thursday statement that the problem was not related to cybersecurity or data integrity issues.
On Election Day in 2022, the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website was down for several hours because of a cyberattack. As many politicians have made claims of election irregularities in recent years, election agency websites across the country have proven susceptible to similar attacks.
“We want to be clear and (reassure) Mississippians our election system is secure and has not been compromised,” the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office said of last year’s cyberattack.
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