Although criticized with an election violation last November, Randy Wertz was reappointed as registrar of elections for a second four-year term.
“The issue, in which the State Board of Elections was concerned with, was the decision by the electoral board to have people write down their names as opposed to checking with us here in the office if they were registered for that precinct,” said Wertz. “They should have used provisional ballots.”
Wertz addressed the new Montgomery county electronic poll books, also known as an e-poll book, typically either hardware, software or a combination of the two that allows election officials to review and process voter information during an election but does not actually count votes. “We were utilizing the EPBs County wide and the people that were dealing with those went through multiple training sessions,” Wertz said.
But come time to vote on Nov. 2, some of those machines would not work properly.
Like Wertz said, the provisional ballots should have been used, especially since those who were not exactly computer savvy were given them anyway.
On April 29, the state board of elections received results of an investigation by the office of the Virginia attorney general into the Nov. 2 election in Montgomery County. Investigators found several violations.
EPBs in six precincts failed.
Instead of using provisional ballots, the election officers were instructed to check a voter’s identification, enter their name and information on a legal pad, and then the voters were allowed to vote on electronic machines.
This allowed approximately 750 voters to cast ballots without first having their registration status verified. 13 of those voters voted in the wrong precinct, meaning their votes were improperly cast and improperly counted.
The investigation concluded that the Nov. 2 election was in clear violation of the election law. However, it did not find the issue to be an attempt to corrupt the election, alter results or allow non-registered voters to vote.
Joshua Lief, senior assistant attorney general, recommended that the State Board issue a letter of censure to the Electoral Board and General Registrar for violations of Virginia law.