Provisional ballot replacement creates faster lines for early in-person voting

Provisional ballot replacement creates faster lines for early in-person voting

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The lines have calmed down since the first day of early in-person voting in Albemarle County, and the process has became a lot faster thanks to a new gold oath form.

“As of last Friday, we were averaging about 775 voters per day. I think we have about 250 that have already voted,” Jim Heilman, a member Albemarle County Electoral Board, said.

The county went through 122 provisional ballots on the first day of early in-person voting.

Provisional ballots are meant for a number of reasons, but can be used for when a voter’s registration is in question. Heilman says they’re tedious and can hold up voting lines.

“It is a lot of work and those provisional ballots can’t be considered by the Electoral Board until actually November 6, because ballots that come in are postmarked by November 3 and come in by noon Friday, November 6,” Heilman said.

However, last week that changed: “Now we’re really not having any provisional ballots because last Wednesday night the State Department of Elections issued new guidance as to different method for working with people that had applied for an absentee ballot,” Heilman said.

Instead of using a provisional ballot for absentee ballot voters, polls in Virginia are now having voters sign a gold oath form.

“You’re either saying, ‘I did not receive my ballot,’ and or, ‘I lost it.’ If you sign that, then you are allowed to vote on the machine like everyone else,” Heilman said.

Once a voter signs the gold oath form, the election staff changes the status of that voter in the statewide system. This is extra insurance to make sure nobody votes twice.

“It certainly makes it easier for the voter, because all they have to do is sign that oath and then they get to vote on the machine. It’s little extra work for our office stay, but not that much,” Heilman said.

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