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Wrong Ballots Handed Out in Richmond's 6th District

Voters at the polls
(Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

In a year with lots of concerns about voting security and accuracy, in Richmond’s 6th City Council District, a handful of voters received the wrong ballot. 

The incorrect ballots didn’t include local races or constitutional amendment questions. That’s because they were “federal ballots” which are meant for specific and rare circumstances where a voter is only eligible to vote in federal races.  

About five of the ballots got into voters’ hands, according to Richmond General Registrar Kirk Showalter, who confirmed the error. 

“I have not had any reports of any other of the precincts handing these out erroneously,” Showalter said. 

According to ABC 8 News, some voters caught the mistake in time, but others had already cast their ballots. 

The mistake won’t matter much in the 6th District Council Race. Incumbent Ellen Robertson has a solid lead over Allan-Charles Chipman. 

In the 8th District City Council race, the question isn’t about whether voters got the wrong ballots, it is whether all the votes have been counted. In a close race, separated by fewer than 300 votes, Amy Wentz told VPM News that people from her campaign counted the number of voters at each of the precincts and their numbers are higher than the Virginia Department of Elections is reporting. 

“It’s all wrong. And so if it’s all wrong for us, how many other precincts and districts is it all wrong for?” Wentz said. 

The registrar pointed out that the canvassing process, in which ballots are recounted and errors resolved, is ongoing. 

“There are almost always errors in reporting of numbers on election night,” Showalter said. “It is a long hard day and people are tired. Mistakes happen in such an environment. That is why election night numbers are unofficial.”

Showalter said the numbers from the voting machines will be reconciled in the coming days. The deadline to certify those results is Tuesday, November, 10. So, some city candidates will not know whether they’ve been elected until then.