A watchdog group is calling for a halt to certifying the results of the Nov. 8 midterm elections in Virginia until some discrepancies can be explained.
In at least two precincts in Prince William County, the number of physical ballots cast differed from the totals reported by machines, according to a news release Monday from the Electoral Process Education Corp.
The nonprofit said it was “urging Virginia’s public election officials to verify scanner machine ballot counts before certification of results in key precincts as a result of recent findings.”
“The recommendation comes after election officers, analysts and observers discovered discrepancies in the data reported to and provided by the Virginia Department of Elections,” it said in the release.
“The findings raise questions about the proper certification of the machines in question, and whether issues were addressed according to statewide election protocols,” EPEC said.
The group indicated that the issue was not who won or lost but the integrity of the election.
“Although the number of ballots impacted was small, the repeated findings raise questions about the origin of the errors and whether the machines were operating correctly,” the release said.
The issues were found in two congressional races in the county, both won by Democrats.
Just the News reported Tuesday that it was told the issues were confined to two precincts — P-612, which is in the 7th Congressional District, and P-104, which is in the 10th Congressional District.
Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger won the 7th Congressional District race with 52.2 percent of the votes against 47.6 percent for Republican Yesli Vega, according to the Virginia Department of Elections. The difference was just under 13,000 votes.
In the 10th Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton defeated Republican candidate Hung Cao, 53.2 percent to 46.7 percent. The margin there was about 19,000 votes.
What the Electoral Process Education Corp. found was that in the 7th District, 531 ballots were reported as being cast, but only 504 physical ballots were found in the collection bin of the voting machine, a difference of 27 ballots.
In the 10th District, the group said the discrepancy was in the single digits.
“Election officers documented these issues with the General Registrar and Electoral Board and recorded the information in the official Statement of Results (SOR) and Chief’s notes,” EPEC said. “The officers proceeded to conduct a hand tabulation of the vote totals on the ballots in accordance with election procedures. They repeated this tabulation multiple times, with multiple officers witnessing the process.
Most of the 7th District’s “unexplained votes” went to Spanberger, the group said.
the machines in question ultimately reported a higher number of ballots scanned than the number of ballots counted by the election workers themselves.
…and POOF!! Just like that! 2 + 2 no longer equals 5.
— Pat Fisher (@HD_PatFisher) November 16, 2022
The group also noted that data provided by the Virginia Department of Elections “shows a more than 20 percent error rate in the ability of e-poll books and backend data streams to record and/or report accurate check-in times for in-person early votes.”
“EPEC is urging VA election officials to perform a detailed, transparent process to explain and rectify these discrepancies,” the group said.
Virginia’s elections calendar calls for the state to certify the election results on Wednesday.
Prince William County’s former registrar of voters, Michele White, has been charged with two felony counts alleging corrupt conduct as an election official and making a false statement, and a misdemeanor charge of willful neglect of duty by an elected official, The Washington Post reported in September. White faces a trial next year.
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