“I Voted” stickers spread out on a table at a polling place in Richmond. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)
Virginia election officials have discovered an additional 149,000 voter registration transactions that weren’t properly processed this year, creating a new headache for local election officials in the final week before Election Day.
On Monday, the Virginia Department of Elections announced the problems it was having processing voter data from the Department of Motor Vehicles were apparently bigger than previously thought.
The 149,000 backlogged transactions came after an initial batch of 107,000 that local election offices scrambled to process earlier this month.
State election officials said they identified the additional voter transactions, which include new voter registrations and address changes, by “conducting a review after several voters came to vote who had not had their information updated.” The affected people weren’t blocked from voting, the agency said, because registrars updated their information “on-site.”
“I am very grateful for the vigilance of Virginia’s general registrars in quickly surfacing concerns during early voting,” said Elections Commissioner Susan Beals, an appointee of Gov. Glenn Youngkin. “With information from local officials, ELECT’s IT professionals were able to scour the election system data to identify the additional transactions for processing. I’m pleased that all affected voters are able to vote and that anyone with questions or concerns can reach out to us directly so that we may assist them as we near Election Day.”
The latest announcement adds to the rocky start for the Youngkin-era elections department, which was already under fire for the previous issues and other mistakes that led to thousands of Virginians getting incorrect voting instructions in the mail. Former elections commissioner Chris Piper, an appointee of former Gov. Ralph Northam, was interested in staying on under Youngkin. But the new administration replaced Piper with Beals, a former Republican aide who previously served on the Chesterfield County Electoral Board, early this year.
The precise nature of this year’s data issues is unclear, but they’re centered around the digitized process of using DMV records to update the state’s voter rolls, a system that was paper-based until 2016.
Election officials have said computer coding issues blocked some records from being transferred to local election offices, which process online voter registration data, over the summer. The state said it’s offering additional staff assistance to local election officials who might lack the manpower to clear the last-minute backlogs while prepping for the Nov. 8 midterms.
Some of the unprocessed transactions may be duplicates from the first batch, officials said.
Any would-be voter who’s uncertain of their status can check their registration info by clicking here or calling the elections department at 804-864-8901.
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