Two satellite early voting sites opening in Richmond

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 1:59 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2021 at 10:39 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Two more locations for Richmond voters to cast ballots early will open Tuesday. This follows a public grilling when Richmond’s Voter Registrar only opened one location when early voting started - the registrar’s office on Laburnum.

The two locations to open Tuesday are the Hickory Hill Community Center and inside Richmond City Hall.

“I share your frustration, and that one is on me. The buck stops with me,” said Keith Balmer, Richmond Voter Registrar/Director of Elections earlier in the month.

Balmer and the Richmond Electoral Board previously met to clear up confusion over the two locations not being offered as early voting sites when early voting started in Virginia.

Hickory Hill Community Center serves the city’s southside and city hall is downtown.

“I thought the electoral board indicated our wishes very clearly, but evidently there was some misunderstanding,” said Jim Nachman, Richmond Electoral Board Chairman.

The electoral board was concerned about being sued over advertising issues. But after a legal review, the board moved forward with opening the two sites.

Balmer said he could have both open by Tuesday.

“I’ve been on the job for four months. I know a lot, but I got a lot to learn. I’ve got to make sure that messaging is on point,” said Balmer.

Richmond’s Mayor and others piled onto growing calls to open the two satellite locations to make voting easier for those living all across Richmond.

“I’m concerned that they’re running a general election and there’s no process by which we’ll do early voting. The General Registrar had communicated with the board about we don’t know which notices went up and where - that’s alarming,” said Mike Jones, Richmond City Councilor.

The two early voting locations will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Weekend voting options will be offered in October.

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