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Report: Virginia Could Face Potential Voting Problems In November

By: Mark Tenia Email
By: Mark Tenia Email

September 19, 2008

"We do expect this to be a phenomenal turnout, this is a historical election," said Greene County Registrar Sandra Shifflett.

But according to a more than 30 page report from non partisan groups, Common Cause and The Century Foundation, it's an election that could see some potential problems posed by Virginia voting laws.

"They thought our laws were too, didn't have a high enough of a standard and I think that in Albemarle County and I think in a lot of other localities as well we don't just do the minimum we go above that," said Albemarle County Elections Manager Clarice Schermerhorn.

According to the report Virginia's current laws make it too easy to challenge a voters eligibility on too slim a basis. Other criticisms include the amount of poll workers required by law to work each precinct, in Virginia it's three.

"But that's a minimum number, we don't assign three election officials to a precinct, we assign as many as are needed," said Schermerhorn.

But the news wasn't all bad. The report also gave Virginia credit for improvements. Saying Governor Kaine signed into law one of the few deceptive practices laws in the country, as well as the state's efforts in informing voters about absentee voting.

"Virginia has done a real good job of providing an absentee ballot application that would outreach to most people," said Shifflett.

Officials say the last thing they want to do is have a negative effect on the voting process but they have to follow the laws.

"We don't want to deny anyone the right to vote," said Shifflett.

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