Chesterfield ballots under question for validity - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Chesterfield ballots under question for validity

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A firestorm has erupted over voter ballots in Chesterfield. Some are challenging that a portion of the votes may be faulty. This unfolding saga would have the biggest effect on the race for attorney general. Candidates Democrat Mark Herring and Republican Senator Mark Obenshain are separated by just 165 votes.

This year, the Virginia State Board of Elections directed counties to review a list of potentially invalid voters, canceling those who were invalid. Every county, except Chesterfield, did that before the election. Now, claims are surfacing that the county's voter roll wasn't legit.

The goal of the "purge" was to make sure no voter cast a ballot in two states.

Chesterfield's General Registrar Larry Haake had 2,200 names to filter through. Haake said he realized many flaws in the list, with registered voters who shouldn't be canceled.

"I was able to identify the problems with this list very quickly, which led me to believe that it was going to require more work than just canceling names. So, that's why I made the decision to delay processing of list," said Haake.

The Virginia State Board of Elections delivered a suggested deadline of October 1st. However, Haake waited until after the election to investigate the voter registrations.

"To protect those on it who were not supposed to be canceled," reiterated Haake.

Haake also says he was dealing with new technology and a slew of other issues, right up until the election.

"We opened a new precinct. We opened 70 new voting machines. We had over 300 people to train on them…all this in the same time frame as this list came," added Haake.

However, an attorney from the American Civil Rights Union is citing a Virginia law. Attorney Christian Adams says that registrars have only 30 days to get rid of invalid voters.

"Haake had 30 days, from the time the State Board of Elections told him about these people, to clean up the rolls, and he broke the law. It's that simple," said Adams.

Legal action has been threatened against the Chesterfield Registrar, for not completing the voting "purge" before the election.

Haake says he's reviewing the hundreds of voter registrations himself, to determine if they should be canceled or counted.

Regardless of what votes are or aren't deemed valid in Chesterfield, there's no way of pulling or adding them to the final state count, at this point. Once a vote is cast, it goes into the anonymous state tally. There's no deciphering which county a ballot came from.

The bigger picture could mean a call for the results of the entire election to be thrown out. That's if some Chesterfield votes are ultimately deemed invalid, and were counted in the total state tally on election night.

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