State auditors will review the Virginia Department of Elections after a series of technical problems that have raised questions about the reliability of the software that powers the state’s voter system. Last month, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission approved a resolution instructing its staff to conduct an in-depth review of the elections agency, which hasn’t been fully studied in almost 20 years. During that span, the agency implemented VERIS, the information system that local elections officials say has been spotty and slow. The IT problems have mostly meant headaches for the registrars who use the system. For the most part, they haven’t disrupted the election process, but a surge of would-be voters trying to register for the presidential election caused the registration website to crash right before the registration deadline. That failure prompted a federal judge to order the reopening of the state’s voter registration period to accommodate those who had been locked out.
… Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortés said his agency is already working to improve VERIS’ performance by adding server capacity and making other tweaks after gaining the ability to modify VERIS’ code in-house.
“There are ways for us to help the registrars to help make their lives easier and make some of these processes easier and faster to do so that they don’t spend quite as much time doing workarounds on a 10-year-old system,” Cortés said.
Cortés said he believes VERIS can be shored up with $5 million spread across the next five fiscal years, while the estimates for implementing a new system were closer to $20 million or $30 million.