Voters voice concerns after troubles at polling precincts

Voters voice concerns after troubles at polling precincts

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -Voters across the Richmond area say they had issues when casting their ballots at the polls on Tuesday.

“Is my vote even going to count?” Amelia Resident Bruce Eagle said.

Frustrated voters said they say they ran into problems when voting during the 2018 midterm elections.

“When I went to go vote yesterday, they handed me a manila envelope with a ballot already in it. I went to the cubicle to fill it out, opened it up and my ballot was already filled out for me,” Eagle said.

Amelia Voter Bruce Eagle says he returned the used ballot to poll workers at the Mattoax Volunteer Fire Department Precinct only to find the same issue again.

“I opened that one before I walked away from him and that one was filled out also," Eagle said.

Eagle said he finally got a clean ballot but it didn’t clear his mind.

“It made me feel very uneasy because I don’t know what they are going to do with these ballots,” Eagle said.

“How would I rank my experience? Maybe a three," Amaya said.

From Amelia to Chesterfield, there were issues all over the area.

When Amaya got ready to vote, someone told her she already did.

“She was like ‘everyone sit here’ because there were a lot of other people with the same issue and then she told me to fill out a provisional,” Amaya said.

Several voters who had issues voting said they took their complaints to the Elections Board.

Marcia Sugumele votes in the Springrun and Birkdale area and said the long lines were ridiculous.

“I actually stood in line for two hours with 260 other people all trying to vote at this precinct,” Sugumele said.

Those two precincts were court ordered to stay open until 9 p.m. after polls closed at 7 p.m. on election night.

Chesterfield officials said there was an insufficient amount of Pollbooks at the locations.

“Maybe they knew a big turnout was coming but they didn’t this big of a turnout was coming. They need to gauge better which precincts have a bigger turnout and up the staffing," Sugumele said.

Voters said they are hoping for changes to be made before the next Election Day.

“It’s our right to vote and the vote should be accurate,” Eagle said.

The Amelia County Director of Elections sent this statement about the issue saying:

“Due to humidity, some ballot issues were discovered early in the election. At the Mattoax precinct in Amelia, ballots were stuck together in three cases. Voters inadvertently cast blank ballots and left their marked ballots in the manila privacy folders at the precinct. Unfortunately, a subsequent voter was given a folder to use that had a marked ballot inside. After securing that ballot, this happened later to another voter. At that point, all three ballots were secured and handled appropriately.”

NBC12 has reached out several times to both the Chesterfield Registrars Office and the State Board of Elections, our many phone calls and emails have not been returned.

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