Henrico man gets more than 100 calls after Chesterfield registrar sends out absentee ballot instructions with wrong phone number

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Henrico man said he got over 100 calls on his home phone number over the past week after the Office of the Registrar in Chesterfield County sent out a mailer to about 6,000 people with his phone number on it instead of the registrar’s.

The mailer had instructions for absentee voting along with a ballot for November’s general election. The phone number was placed on the mailer to allow people to call if they needed to ask questions about absentee voting.

Mark Walker lives in Henrico and said he received 19 calls Tuesday morning alone, from people asking him questions about absentee voting.

“We also got voicemails, because people want answers to questions and so I called them back and said sorry, but, you know, here’s the real number. And they were very thankful that I just helped them out,” Walker said in an exclusive interview with 8News Tuesday.

He said his daughter originally called the registrar’s office and was told the error wasn’t made by their office since the mailer’s header attributed the information to the Virginia Department of Elections. Walker then called the state, but they told him the error wasn’t made by them either.

Walker laughed off what he called a “simple mistake,” saying, “I’m popular for once! It happens. As long as it gets fixed, I’m happy.”

However, Walker said the calls were disruptive since his wife works from home because of COVID-19.

After his third call to the registrar’s office, Walker said they admitted to making the mistake by accident and said they’d work to fix the problem.

“I understand. Just try to fix it, you know? The minute you get callers telling you, well I just called some strange person and it wasn’t you and they gave me the right number, get in touch with your communications director and do a PSA across the county to say, whoops, our mistake, call this number instead,” Walker said.

The Chesterfield County Registrar’s Office said the typo was a human error. The office has corrected the mistake and shredded incorrect papers. They are sending out new instructions as of Tuesday morning.

The phone number was one digit off. Walker wants to make sure folks are aware that the correct phone number for people who have questions regarding absentee voting in Chesterfield County is (804) 748-1471.

The Chesterfield County registrar’s office has apologized and wants the public to know that if you received your absentee ballot with the instructions, you can still fill out the ballot and send it back. They said the typo has nothing to do with returning a ballot.

The ballot can also be dropped off in person at the registrar’s office during early voting from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 9848 Lori Road in Chesterfield.

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