Virginia election officials urge voters to get absentee ballots in now

Updated: Oct. 29, 2020 at 2:48 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The amount of mail-in ballots still out there is causing concern, especially within the city of Richmond where thousands have not yet been returned. And the question is: when will they come in and how quickly can those votes be counted?

“A lot of people have been saying, ‘are you going to be able to count all these votes by the end of Election Day?’ And the answer is yes and no,” said Jim Nachman, Richmond Electoral Board Chairman.

In the city, almost 28,000 absentee ballots have been requested with only about half of them actually back at the voter registrar’s office. So when does that other half show up? And if local races are close, like the race for mayor, could not having those votes tabulated delay any definitive results on election night.

“Those ballots are probably not going to be counted because we have to await the election officers to come back into our headquarters and drop off all the materials,” said Nachman.

The state has directed all registrar’s to stop the vote count at 11 p.m. election night to report in what results are already tabulated, and see where we are. The counting resumes the next day.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, says they are working around the clock.

“People can have confidence in our electoral system whether they vote by mail or choose to do it in person,” said Herring.

Richmond’s voter registrar says they will start processing all absentee mail-in ballots on Nov. 1. They have a high-speed scanner, with several backups, to process upwards of 30,000 absentee ballots over three days.

“It is really important that every lawful vote count and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that that happens,” said Herring.

So if you still have your mail-in ballot you should take it to your voter registrar’s office now. That’s not only for Richmond because other voter registrar offices across the state are facing similar concerns.

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