Some registrars across the commonwealth are working to acquire new, approved equipment so voters can cast ballots in less than two months. On Friday, the Department of Elections called for touchscreen voting booths to be decertified in Virginia. The State Board of Elections approved the request. The touchscreen method is being phased out because of concerns of hacking. “Our No. 1 priority is to make sure that Virginia elections are carried out in a secure and fair manner,” James Alcorn, Chair of the State Board of Elections, said in a release. “The step we took [Friday] to decertify paperless voting systems is necessary to ensure the integrity of Virginia’s elections.” Touchscreens were previously set to go away in 2020.
“It was, to me, a little bit shocking when they did it all of a sudden right before a November election because it’s right around the corner,” said Pamala Clark, general registrar for Hopewell.
Clark spent Monday on the phone trying to find a Plan B for her voters. “I don’t know exactly what that will be yet,” she said. “But I do know it will be paper.”
The decision to ban touch-screen machines impacts 22 localities: Bath, Buchanan, Chesapeake, Colonial Heights, Culpeper, Cumberland, Emporia, Falls Church, Gloucester, Hopewell, Lee, Madison, Martinsville, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Rappahannock, Russell, Surry, Sussex, Tazewell and Washington.