Voter verification system running slowly - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

UPDATE: Voter verification system running slowly

By Deon Guillory - bio | email   & Gene Petriello
Posted by Shawn Maclauchlan

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - With the elections only six days away, there are new concerns for voters heading to the polls.

There could be some delays when you try to cast your ballot.

Registrars in several counties say the state's voter-verification system is moving very slowly.

It's a system that's operated by the same state agency that saw a computer meltdown back in August.  Registrars point to that event as the major issue.

That computer glitch shut down computers at the DMV and several other state agencies.

Some registrars say their offices have been working overtime to put voter information into the system.

They say it may be hard for them to verify voter records on election day.

The State Board of Elections and the agency that runs the computer system sent out this joint statement that reads in part:

"System slowdowns are being experienced at times and State Board of Elections staff and VITA engineers are working together to resolve them. Most importantly, none of the system slowdowns will impact a qualified voter's ability to vote."

Some registrars say voters may have to cast provisional ballots.

Those aren't counted immediately and election results may not be known for at least a week.

We are learning more information about the problem. 

Henrico County General Registrar Mark Coakley deals with the voter verification system everyday. That system makes sure you are registered to vote and voting in the right place.

"We don't know when we come in, in the morning if our system is going to work or not," says Coakley.

He says it's been that way for the past six weeks. That's right when the state agency in charge of the computers coakley uses went down, for days

"More resources should have been put in up front and we are now getting those resources to handle the problems," says Coakley. 

If the problem happens on Election Day, there are some backup plans in place.

"All the voters that are on a CD list that I can zip in and look up all the voters on Election Day," says Coakley. 

Richmond leaders are working on a contingency plan as well. But in the meantime, the city has shifted some of its staff to help avoid long waits when the state verification computer system slows down.

The state board of elections has back up plans too. "We do have provisional ballots that voters can use on Election Day if there is any question,' says State Board of Elections Secretary Nancy Rodrigues. 

But the Richmond registrar points out-- if you fill out one of those ballots at the wrong polling location, your vote won't count.

It all boils down to this for Coakley. 'VITA is responsible but they know what's going to happen on Election Day. They need to be there and we have confidence they will be there to help the situation."

We are also learning that the problem with the computer system has been going on for the past couple of years, but has gotten a lot worse since the computer crash back in August.

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