The Prince William Board of County Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to appoint an independent, bipartisan panel to look at why many voters waited hours on Election Day to cast their ballot. The panel would also make recommendations about how the county can avoid such problems in the future. The Nov. 6 lines were the worst at the River Oaks precinct at Potomac Middle School, in a Democratic-leaning, minority district, where voters waited in some cases more than four hours to vote. The last vote there was cast at 10:45 p.m., and election officials acknowledged that the biggest problem was lack of voting machines.
There were also waiting times of between two and three hours at four other precincts, said Supervisor Frank J. Principi (D-Woodbridge). “When we get it wrong, shame on us, and we got it wrong on Election Day,” said Principi, who recommended the formation of the commission.
Democrats have cried foul and complained to the Department of Justice. The three-member Electoral Board is comprised of two Republicans and one Democrat. (The relative numbers are determined by which party controls the governor’s mansion.) Local parties recommend who should serve on the commission and the local Circuit Court appoints the members.
Principi has said that the county’s problems extend beyond the Electoral Board. He says he is unsure whether a request for $350,000 for election expenses was squashed by county staff.