Ten Albemarle County precincts were short official ballots in last week’s election and had to hand-count some ballots.
Election officials in Albemarle cite higher-than-expected voter turnout — about 63% of registered voters — and promise to order more ballots for future elections.
Overall, 1,896 voters had to cast ballots that were then hand counted on election night.
“From speaking to the chief precinct officers when they brought their election materials in on Tuesday night, the longest wait times that I heard of were 20-25 minutes,” Registrar Jake Washburne said. “Each chief that I spoke with advised that they had explained to the voters in line that ballots were on the way, and that the great majority of voters waited patiently and voted.”
The precincts affected were in every magisterial district except the Rio District. Samuel Miller District and White Hall District each had three affected— Ivy, Red Hill and Country Green in Samuel Miller and Crozet, Brownsville and Mechums River in White Hall.
Jack Jouett in the Jack Jouett District, Mountain View in the Scottsville District and Hollymead and Baker-Butler in the Rivanna District were also short ballots.
Washburne said he looked at election results for many gubernatorial elections including 2017, when the turnout was about 56% “which was a significant jump, really the highest turnout for a gubernatorial election since the adoption of the motor-voter law,” when ordering ballots, but with nine different ballot styles, it can be “tricky.”
“So you order 75% [of active voters] and you try to break that 75% down into the nine different ballot styles, and it doesn’t come out exactly even,” he said.
Approximately 63% of Albemarle registered voters voted in the Nov. 2 election, or about 66% of active registered voters. Of those who voted, about 26% voted early in-person, 12% voted with mail-in ballots and almost 62% voted on Election Day.
Due to changes in state law, this was the second November election that allowed for early, no-excuse in-person voting for 45 days prior to the main election day.
State officials on election night said other counties, including Appomattox, Chesterfield, Floyd, Powhatan and Madison, had issues and also had run out of ballots.
When asked how the county was going to prevent a ballot shortage in the future, Washburne said the office would “order far more ballots for every election.”
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