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Va. Dept. of Elections clears up misinformation about ‘counted votes’ on voter registration pages

With the General Election on Nov. 3 being one week away, the Virginia Democrats announced they...
With the General Election on Nov. 3 being one week away, the Virginia Democrats announced they have filed a lawsuit on the Richmond Voter's Registrar over absentee ballot issues.(NBC12)
Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 2:01 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Department of Elections is trying to set the record straight after they’ve received a number of calls and emails from voters about a viral social media effort urging voters to check and see if their vote was counted.

On Thursday morning, the VDE posted on social media about the issue. NBC12 also received numerous phone calls and emails from voters concerned after reviewing their registration information.

“Essentially what they’re claiming is when you go to our website and check your voter record, it’s not showing that your vote has been counted,” said VDE Commissioner Chris Piper.

The VDE refutes that claim. On Election Day, as soon as a person sends their ballot through a machine, Piper said the vote is immediately counted. Instead, the commissioner believes people are confused about “voter credit” on the registration.

“Voter credit is something that occurs after all the counting of the ballots has occurred,” he explained. “It’s a manual process that the registrars go through to update our voter registration database. So that information isn’t going to show up for at least a week.”

The voter credit will appear where it says, “Voter History”. If the 2020 November General Election is not posted on your registration, that means your credit has not yet been posted.

Per the VA Dept. of Elections, the "Voter History" is where your voter credit will be issued.
Per the VA Dept. of Elections, the "Voter History" is where your voter credit will be issued.(NBC12)

“If you voted in person on Election Day, it may be a week or more until voter credit is applied,” Piper said.

Meanwhile, for people who voted early in-person and absentee by mail, your counted vote will fall under the “Vote Absentee by Mail” category.

“In Virginia, technically any vote that occurs before Election Day is absentee,” Piper said. “It means you will be absent on Election Day or won’t be participating in voting on Election Day so you’re going to cast your vote absentee.”

Despite changes to the rule this year, if you voted early in-person you will still be listed under “Vote Absentee by Mail”.

Per the VA Dept. of Elections, if you voted early in-person or mailed your absentee ballot,...
Per the VA Dept. of Elections, if you voted early in-person or mailed your absentee ballot, this is what the section on your voter registration should look like. If there is a date in the "ballot received" section, it means your vote was counted.(NBC12)

However, Piper said you do need to check to make sure your ballot was acknowledged in that section.

“It should say ballot received, and that’s an important distinction,” Piper said. “If you voted by mail and it’s not showing as received then that’s a good question to ask your registrar at this point. It does not mean it will not be received, it may just be making its way through the process.”

At this point, Piper said registrars are still receiving ballots through the mail.

“They are still processing ballots received on Election Day as far as the drop off locations,” Piper said. “They have until Friday at noon as long as they’re postmarked by Election Day. So, it can take a little while, especially if you’ve voted by mail, it may not be showing up right away.”

Meanwhile, many voters are also sharing concerns over the “Ballot Information” section. Many people have clicked on that tab and found “Ballot Information Was not Found” as a response.

“This is where races to appear on the ballot you would be voting would be listed if there were an active election,” said Deputy Commissioner Jessica Bowman. “Since the election has passed that section will be blank.”

“These are great, hardworking people who are just interested in the integrity of the vote, and making sure your vote counts,” Piper said. “Please trust the process. It is important and they are working hard on your behalf. Nothing nefarious is going on.”

[ Vote count and canvassing continues in Virginia ]

As of Thursday, the Virginia Department of Elections received an overall total of nearly one-million mail-in ballots. Final vote totals should be updated on Friday.

Local election results will be certified on Nov. 10. The State Board of Elections will meet on Nov. 16 for the final vote certification.

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