RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With a record number of voters registered in Virginia for the 2022 midterm elections, it can’t be expected to all be smooth sailing.
Issues seen across the Commonwealth included late starts, ballot boxes jamming and even power loss — but the most common issues that were seen dealt with the electronic poll book, the laptop used to verify voters’ identification with their registration.
In a press conference Tuesday morning, the Commissioner of Elections for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Susan Beales, said “We have had some issues with poll books. We have some localities that have electronic poll books, some have paper poll books. Every single locality that has an electronic poll book is required to have a paper backup poll book on site.”
Several polling stations had to switch over and make use of their backup paper poll books Tuesday as issues with the laptops began. Early Tuesday morning at the Dinwiddie High School polling location, the chief officer was having issues entering their password into the electronic poll book, so a switch to the paper version had to be made until the officer was able to log in.
Polling locations in Nottoway County, Chesterfield County, Suffolk County and the city of Richmond all reported having issues with poll books on Election Day.
Beale said that as most of the voting process issues around the Commonwealth had to do with the poll books, and not the ballot machines, “It has not prevented anyone from voting.”
“We have not received issues about voting machines, I do believe people are referring to poll books,” Beale stated in response to a question asking if there had been issues with voting machines.
The most widely seen result of the poll book debacle is longer wait times. Those planning on voting during peak times in the afternoon and evening hours were told to be aware in advance that they may see extended wait times.
As a note, Beale said no reports of voter intimidation or harassment at the polls had been received as of the 11 a.m. briefing.