The Bulletin

Board of Elections approves another candidate for the ballot after paperwork problems

By: - July 11, 2019 4:58 pm

“I Voted” stickers spread out on a table at a polling place in Richmond. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

The Virginia Board of Elections allowed another candidate on the ballot as a party nominee despite a mix-up with his nomination paperwork.

Clinton Jenkins, a Democrat challenging Del. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, won a party nomination process but the local party chair responsible for submitting the paperwork to the state used the wrong email address to send it in.

It meant he wasn’t officially the Democratic nominee for the 76th District, which includes parts of Suffolk and Chesapeake.

Jenkins’ paperwork made it to other officials though, including the local registrar, according to emails submitted to the Board of Elections.

The local committee put forth a “good effort” to get the paperwork in, Jenkins said at the meeting, flanked by party officials. He called the situation a “computer glitch.”

He’s not the first candidate this election cycle to have their paperwork mixed up.

The board allowed Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, on the ballot as the official party nominee late last month after he submitted affidavits from local party officials that he won a party nomination. He thought his paperwork was mailed or faxed to the state, but it didn’t arrive in Richmond by nomination deadline.

At its emergency meeting on Thursday, the Board of Elections deferred a decision on Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, who didn’t submit two documents necessary to be on a ballot. One certifies he won a party nomination and the other is a general certification of a candidate. It asks questions such as residency and criminal status and every candidate must complete it, regardless of whether they’re running for a party nomination.

The board will seek guidance from the Attorney General’s Office on Freitas’ situation “expeditiously,” said chair Bob Brink.

Brink and fellow board member John O’Bannon aren’t strangers to the nomination process. Both were in the House of Delegates — Brink represented the Arlington area for 16 years and O’Bannon represented part of Henrico County for 16 years as well.

“This has been a very painful year for both parties,” O’Bannon said of the nomination snafus the new board has dealt with in the last month.

“On that, I concur,” Brink said.

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Mechelle Hankerson
Mechelle Hankerson

Mechelle, born and raised in Virginia Beach, is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in mass communications and a concentration in print journalism. She covered the General Assembly for the university’s Capital News Service and was among 12 student journalists in swing states selected by the Washington Post to cover the 2012 presidential election. For the past five years, she has covered local government, crime, housing, infrastructure and other issues at the Raleigh News & Observer and The Virginian-Pilot, where she most recently covered the state’s biggest city, Virginia Beach. Mechelle was with the Virginia Mercury until January 3rd, 2019.