Richmond Electoral Board votes to open early voting locations at Hickory Hill Community Center, City Hall

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond Electoral Board has voted to get the early voting sites at the Hickory Hill Community Center and at Richmond City Hall open by Sept. 28 at 8:00 a.m.

This comes as residents and city political leaders expressed outrage at the two locations not being open for early voting when the period opened on Sept. 17.

“It’s damaging to the integrity of our entire election process,” said Councilman Mike Jones, who claimed voter supression against the voters in his southside Richmond community.

Other election officials like Richmond Electoral Board Chair James Nachman were just as confused, saying the longstanding intention was to open all three on Fiday. “I thought the electoral board indicated our wishes very clearly but evidently there was some misunderstanding,” Nachman told 8News.

Nachman said the new decision came following research during a recess period of the board’s Thursday meeting, research that showed previous advertising indicated the Hickory Hill and City Hall locations would be open for early voting on the 17th, in addition to the location at the General Registrar’s office. Just board member Starlet Stevens voted against opening the two additional sites. It’s not clear why.

In an interview with 8News after the vote, Balmer apologized. “I hear you, I share your frustration and that one is on me,” he said. “My website said one thing and the ad I put in the newspaper said another.”

Balmer took over as General Registrar just a few months ago after the previous regsitrar, Kirk Showalker, was fired following complaints against her during the November election.

The sites at Hickory Hill Community Center and City Hall will be open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Tuesday.

“I’ve been on the job for four months. I know a lot but I got a lot to learn. I gotta make sure my messaging is on point,” said Balmer.

Without Thursday’s vote, the other two early voting sites wouldn’t have opened until mid-October, just a couple of weeks before the election.

This is breaking news. Stay with 8News for updates.

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