Home 2017 Races On Veterans Day, VA Dems Decry Stafford County Electoral Board Refusal to...

On Veterans Day, VA Dems Decry Stafford County Electoral Board Refusal to Count Military Ballots, Release Provisional Ballots List

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I just got off a call (audio below) with Democratic veterans Delegate John Bell, Delegate Marcus Simon, Delegate-elect Lee Carter and Delegate-elect David Reid, along with DPVA Chairwoman Susan Swecker; Chair of the Veterans and Military Families Caucus of the DPVA Terron Sims; and veteran Carlos Del Toro in calling for Gloria Chittum and Marie Gozzi of the Stafford County Electoral Board to Count a Reported 55 Absentee Ballots of Military Voters. Regarding the military voters, apparently their ballots arrived at the Electoral Board’s P.O. Box on Tuesday (Election Day), but were not picked up until Wednesday (!). And on that “technicality,” the Stafford County Electoral Board apparently is claiming that the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to defend – among other things – our right to vote are NOT being allowed to vote in this election! Is this outrageous or what, especially on Veterans Day weekend?

As if that’s not bad enough, on the call, it was noted that the Stafford County Electoral Board is ALSO refusing to release the list of provisional ballots, which basically every other local Virginia Electoral Board does routinely, and which is what they’re supposed to do.

By the way, as was repeated over and over again in the call, Democrats have NO IDEA which candidate (Democratic Joshua Cole or Republican Bob Thomas) these ballots will benefit, but that regardless, they should be counted. I couldn’t agree more.

  • old_redneck

    The electoral board consists of two Democrats and one Republican – which means at least one, maybe both, Democrats are refusing to count the military absentee votes.

    In our county – I’m an electoral board member – the post office brings absentee ballots to our registration after they close on Tuesday. Sounds like we need a new electoral board.

    • muppetzinspace

      The question of whether to count absentee ballots that arrived on election day FROM MILITARY SERVICE MEMBERS should be pretty obvious. No matter what your party. Votes should be counted that are cast in accordance to the rules. Even if all of them are for Thomas, they should be counted.

      • notjohnsmosby

        The law is that any ballot that arrives in the mail on Election Day is to be counted. If someone fails to go pick up the mail,. they should be out of a job immediately.

        • Anonymous Is A Woman

          I was thinking the same thing. If those ballots arrived on Tuesday, there is no question they should be counted. And if they are not counted because of the failure to pick them up timely, somebody should lose their job. That is dereliction of duty. And those serving in the military should not be disenfranchised because of negligence on the part of the election board.

        • Tip

          So you’re saying Get Rid Of The Riddler? #BallotGateVA28

    • Yep, that’s discussed in the call…one Dem apparently is siding with one of the Republicans, for whatever crazy reason.

      • notjohnsmosby

        Probably because that Dem is in his/her 70s and is personal friends with the registrar (probably Republican) and other old-timers in the Office of Elections.

        You see that all over Virginia right now. Local committees have to realize that these appointments aren’t for life and the chair of the local Dem committee can always nominate different people for those spots.

    • John Farrell

      Circuit court not district court.

      • old_redneck

        Yes, thanks.

        • Tip

          That’s very informative @Ole Redneck. Thumbs up. #BallotGateVA28

    • Tip

      We cannot assume Democrats are refusing to count the ballots. This should be considered a nonpartisan issue. BallotGateVA28

  • Kenneth Ferland

    If the voters mailed their ballot within the specified deadline then their is no question they need to be counted. Their have even been instances of over-seas soldiers missing deadlines and still getting counted so I can’t see how anything less can be allowed here. Public pressure will likely work here to make the board change it’s mind.

  • muppetzinspace

    Between the Gerrymandering and the questionable absentee/provisional ballot handling, this is a race that is stacked squarely against a democrat getting a fair shot.

    • Tip

      However, hard work shows that against all odds, yes we can!!! I was floored like a newscaster on Trump’s election night, to see Josh didn’t win. Trust! BallotGateVA28

  • Michael Beer

    I don’t understand why all of the absentee ballots that arrived on election day are ballots by military folks. Did any absentee ballots from non-military people arrive? Military or not…is irrelevant, if they arrived on election day before 7pm then they need to be counted. They are not permitted to be counted if arrival after 7pm.

    • Tip

      They arrived at the post office and are post official because of post date. The Registrar didn’t pick them up until Wednesday. Thus they weren’t counted and that’s not fair. Thus this outcry..#BallotGateVA28

  • ChupacabraAzul

    I spoke to Ann Mah about this today. She told me to tell you she was represented by Margie Wakefield of Lawrence, Kansas, in State Court and by the ACLU in federal court. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/kris-kobach-provisional-ballots_n_2132268.html

  • ChupacabraAzul

    “The Stafford County Electoral Board is ALSO refusing to release the list of provisional ballots, which every other local Electoral Board does routinely, and which is what they’re supposed to do.” If I may interject…NOT “every other Election Board ‘routinely’ releases the list of provisional ballots routinely.” At least one other had to be dragged into federal court, stripped down to its bare butt and spanked.

    Below is a Huffington Post article about a similar incident engendered by none other than Kris Kobach of Kansas. Kansas State Board of Education Member Ann Mah asked me to let you know that Margie Wakefield of Lawrence, Kansas, represented her in Kansas State Court. The ACLU represented her in Federal Court.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/kris-kobach-provisional-ballots_n_2132268.html

    • Fair point. Changed to “which basically every other local Virginia Electoral Board does routinely,”

      • ChupacabraAzul

        lowkell … Actually I wasn’t trying to “correct” anybody. I only posted in case the matter was still being litigated, and time was pressing. (In hopes that Kansas state and federal courts could provide foreign persuasive authority on the matter at hand. Or that the pleadings in state and federal court here might present a useful framework for the pleadings.) I am in awe of you guys.

    • old_redneck

      As I stated in my response above, I’m not familiar with a requirement in VA election law that requires the release of a list of names of provisional voters. This may be what people are referring to. 24.2-653 is the VA statue covering processing provisionals — ti states, in part: “. . . any voter who casts a provisional ballot and is determined by the Electoral Board to have been entitled to vote shall have his name included on the list of persons who voted that is submitted to the Department of Elections pursuant to 24.2.406. ”

      24.2-406 deals with furnishing — “at a reasonable price” — lists of people who voted to political parties or to anyone who requests the list. Undker 24.2-406: “. . . the general registrar shall submit the list of persons who voted to the Department of Elections within 14 days after each election.”

      Thus, it appears the registrar has two weeks to get the list of voters to the State — including provisional voters.

      • Tip

        Wow. But in fact, every single one of the other precincts handed theirs over immediately following the election. Hmmmm… So what should we conclude? #BallotGateVA28

      • ChupacabraAzul

        old_redneck … Actually I wasn’t trying to “correct” anybody. I only posted in case the matter was still being litigated, and time was pressing. (In hopes that Kansas state and federal courts could provide foreign persuasive authority on the matter at hand. Or that the pleadings in state and federal court here might present a useful framework for the pleadings.) I am in awe of you guys.

    • ChupacabraAzul

      Actually I wasn’t trying to “correct” anybody. I only posted in case the matter was still being litigated, and time was pressing. (In hopes that Kansas state and federal courts could provide foreign persuasive authority on the matter at hand. Or that the pleadings in state and federal court here might present a useful framework for the pleadings.) I am in awe of you guys.

  • old_redneck

    I don’t know if this helps . . . but . . .

    As I understand it, the absentee ballots in question were delivered to or picked up by the
    Stafford County registrar on Wednesday, the day after the election.

    The question is WHEN WERE THE BALLOTS RECEIVED AT THE POST OFFICE.

    If the ballots are in the PO that serves the registrar before polls close at 7:00 PM Tuesday, those ballots are to be counted — when they are delivered to the registrar is irrelevant — the ballot is valid if it arrives in the PO that serves the registrar before the polls closed.

    If the PO delivered ballots to the
    registrar before the polls closed Tuesday, and if they had no more mail
    deliveries until Wednesday morning, then, ballots arriving in the Wednesday morning delivery are late and
    cannot be counted.

    HOWEVER — if there was a mail delivery AFTER the PO
    closed, and if ballots in that delivery were not delivered to the registrar until the next day, then it’s possible those ballots were in that late delivery and
    — in my opinion — should be counted.

    It all depends on when the ballots arrived at the servicing PO . . . someone needs to step up and explain this time sequence.

    It’s the responsibility of the Electoral Board to explain this. I’m a member of my county Electoral Board and I guarandamntee you all three of us would agree to put out a public notice explaining the time sequence of mail delivery and pickup.

    As for releasing the provisional list — I’ll have to check the statute about provisional ballots. However, it may be they are not releasing the list of provisionals until after those ballots have been considered — the deadline for which is noon Monday, unless the EB wants to extend the deadline.

    Electoral Boards consist of three members, two from one party, one from the other party. The majority is determined by the party of the governor — now, with a Democratic governor, there are two Democrats and one Republican on every Electoral Board. I’ve been on our Board for eight years, have had three Republican counterparts. At the start of each year, we agree that ALL our decisions will be 3-0, no split decisions. So far, we have abided by that decision and never had a case where we started 2-1, discussed it, then ended up 3-0 — we’ve always been 3-0 – – – maybe we are just lucky.

  • Pierre

    This is the exact reason why I don’t do mail-in absentee ballots because of dumb stuff like this. It is worth driving 500+ miles to vote an in person absentee rather than mail it because you never know what will happen. It can be something weather related or something retarded like this. Back to the story, I don’t care if the votes were all going to Gillespie and Thomas, there votes needed to be counted. Republicans are talking about voter fraud, this is the pure definition of voter fraud. These two Democrats in Stafford should be ashamed of themselves for doing this.