Va. registrars work to process 149k additional voter registration applications
State election officials blame computer glitch, which caused another backlog back in October
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Staff at Richmond’s Office of Elections are busy processing thousands of voter registration applications following an announcement by the Virginia Department of Elections on Monday that there are an additional 149,000 voter registration applications that need to be processed.
“As you can imagine, it’s an all-hands-on-deck operation,” said Keith Balmer, director of elections in the City of Richmond.
Initially, Balmer said the office received 3,500 applications, but this number has gone down to 2,200 due to state election officials identifying duplicate applications.
“We actually have the resources to actually be able to process all these applications pretty quickly,” Balmer said.
In a press release sent by the Virginia Department of Elections on Monday, officials said they were able to identify these additional transactions through a review after several voters came to vote and had not had their information updated.
State election officials said in each case, the voter’s information was updated onsite by the general registrar, and the voter could cast their ballot.
These applications include address updates, and new voter registrations are done through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles between May and September this year.
“We have a plan in place that I think will ensure no voters are harmed because of this,” Balmer said.
In light of these additional applications, Balmer said his staff will work throughout the next two days to ensure all of them are processed by the end of the day on Wednesday.
In Henrico, election officials are also working to make sure they can process their 3,900 applications. In an email sent to NBC12 on Tuesday, Henrico’s registrar said they are down to 2,182 applications and said, “all hands on deck to get the voters registered.”
In Chesterfield, a spokesperson for the county told NBC12 the registrar is processing just over 2,000 applications, which is down from the initial total of 4,000 because state election officials removed duplicate registrations.
A similar computer glitch in October sent roughly 107,000 voter registration applications to local registrars to process.
“I’m frustrated, and the team is working really hard to address this most recent circumstance,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin during an event on Tuesday.
Youngkin spoke about the backlog and how he plans to address this.
“I’m going to make sure we have an after-action report that identifies what happened,” said Gov. Youngkin. “The reality is we need a new system, and the system was supposed to have been done before I came in, and it wasn’t. It hadn’t even been procured now we’ve procured it. It’s gonna have to be implemented appropriately and quickly because the one we’ve got can’t be held together with band-aids anymore.”
In a press release last Monday, state election officials also announced their moves to create a new statewide voter registration system, which is expected to go live in February 2025.
I’m pleased that all affected voters are able to vote,” said Elections Commissioner Susan Beals in Monday’s release.
As registrars work to process these applications, Balmer also said they will be able to help voters affected by this backlog.
“If there would be a message I would say to voters who may be impacted by this, if you’re one of the applicants whose registration was caught up in this second backlog and you come to vote, we can still pull you up in the system and see that in the system that we have your application,” Balmer said. “We’ll process the application in real-time, and you’ll be able to vote.”
State election officials said any voter who has a question about their voter registration status or polling place can check the Department of Elections website or call 804-864-8901 and dial 0.
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