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Update on Spotsy polling problems

Reporter Cathy Jett has been in touch with Spotsylvania County registrar Kellie Acors, who said voting at two polling places — Lee Hill Elementary School and the Lee Hill Community Center — was halted for a while this morning because of a glitch in how the voting machines were programmed. Jett said Acors told her the problem has been fixed.


Photo by Pam Gould

The locations are dual polling places, where people in both the 1st and 7th congressional districts can vote. Problems arose when election workers at the community center and the school used a credit-card sized card to open the voting booths and key in their location. Some machines were supposed to be programmed for the 1st district race and some for the 7th.

But that didn’t happen. We’ve been told the elementary school machines were programmed for people to cast votes only in the 1st district race. At the community center, we’re hearing that machines were programmed only for the 7th district.

Some voters were given paper ballots, but apparently, there weren’t enough to go around. Stay tuned for more updates, as we’re working to nail down how many people were unable to vote in their congressional race this morning, and whether any voted in the wrong race.

Many voters were frustrated by delays in their ability to vote; some said they had to leave to get to work on time and feared they would not return home in time to vote before the polls close.

“This is ridiculous,” said Dawn Napper, a Spotsylvania teacher who hadn’t been able to vote at Lee Hill Elementary as of 8:10 this morning and was late for work. “This is too close of an election for this to be going on. We don’t want another 2000.”

Acors, the registrar, said that the workers had been trained to use the cards correctly. Election official John Adams at Lee Hill Elementary School told reporter Pam Gould that the glitch this morning stemmed from “human error.”

Acors said the problem was solved in about an hour, but she was so busy fielding calls and contacting officials in Richmond that she didn’t have time to look at the clock.

– Pam Gould and Cathy  Jett contributed to this report