With a contentious election this year, many voters are wondering how safe mail-in ballots really are.
WYDaily reached out to local registrars to see how each locality was safeguarding ballots to prevent fraudulent votes.
James City County
Dianna S. Moorman, director of elections for the James City County Voter Registration & Elections, said the mail-in ballot drop -off boxes have been “a very big positive in the election world.”
And to make things easier for voters, the registrar’s office opened up two additional locations until Oct. 31: The Abram Frink Jr. Community Center and the James City County Library. You can see a full list of mail-in ballot drop off boxes here.
“The ballot drop stations, I think, are the biggest hit of the election,” she said. “It allows voters the opportunity to know that their ballots have in fact reached us and they will in fact be counted.”
As of Monday afternoon, 4,500 ballots have not been returned back to the registrar’s office.
“You can vote early at your local registrar’s office beginning 45 days before Election Day and ending the Saturday before Election Day,” according to the Virginia Department of Elections’ website.
One way the county is safeguarding mail-in ballots is requiring voters to submit a written or online application with their signature for verification purposes.
Voters in the city of Williamsburg can track their ballots after submitting them in the mail through Ballot Scout, an online tracker available throughout the state.
Absentee ballots sent through the mail may be returned by mail, delivered by the voter to the Office of the General Registrar in person, or sent by commercial delivery service.
But for the November election, ballots may also be returned to the drop box located on the brick wall outside the front doors of the Municipal Building located at 401 Lafayette St.
Director of Elections Tina Reitzel did not provide comment on how the city is safeguarding voter fraud.
“We have between 9,000 and 10,000 votes that have been mailed out,” York County Registrar Walt Latham said.
Once people apply for a ballot, they are marked on a list, so they cannot ask for another one. This is to prevent fraudulent votes, he said.
Latham believes most people want to see the process as much as possible.
“What they like is seeing it go into the machine,” he said of people seeing their vote taken.
A lot of people have turned in their ballot by hand to the registrar’s office instead of just dropping it off at the post office.
In-person voting options:
- In-person on Election Day, Nov. 3, from 6 a.m. — 7 p.m.; OR
- In person, early voting, at the Registrar’s Office’s locations at 5322 George Washington Memorial Hwy., Yorktown, or 6614 Mooretown Rd., Ste. A, Williamsburg.
Early, in-person voting will be available at both office locations beginning Sept. 18. Early, in-person voting will continue, Monday through Friday, until Friday, Oct. 30, from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. An application is not needed to vote in person on Election Day or at either of the Registrar’s Office’s locations.
Both offices will also be open on Saturday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 31, from 9 a.m. -5 p.m.
By-mail voting options:
- Absentee, receiving the ballot by mail and returning the ballot by mail; OR
- Absentee, receiving the ballot by mail and returning the ballot in person or by dropbox. Ballot dropboxes will be available the same dates, times, and locations listed above for in-person, early voting. In addition, dropboxes will be available at both locations on Monday, Nov. 2, from 8:30 a.m. — 5 p.m.
WYDaily reporters Annie Gallo, Gabrielle Rente and Julia Marsigliano contributed to this report.
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