As attorneys and judges in Richmond carved out the ground rules for the statewide recount in the attorney general race last week, Spooner Hull logged more than 2,000 miles on Virginia roads in five days to make sure that the voting equipment will be ready to process tens of thousands of ballots in the coming days. Hull, 67, is a state-certified vendor who sells and services voting machines in 40 localities statewide. He has worked for decades in the background, doing his part to protect the integrity of the electoral system and allow democracy to run its course, unhindered by technical errors that could cause dramatic shifts in Virginia’s political landscape. “Here in Virginia, we have a very good election system, and it works,” said Hull, who bought his company, Atlantic Election Services Inc., from his father 33 years ago. Since then, he has serviced countless local elections and every presidential and state election — including two previous statewide recounts. His years in the business have strengthened his faith in the state’s electoral system. “I can assure you when any state in this country undertakes a rewrite of their election law, they will come to Virginia and look at our code and how we do things,” Hull said.
Roanoke voter precincts will have electronic voting machines for the Jan. 7 special House of Delegates election – but at an unexpected cost of $36,000. The impending recount in the Virginia Attorney General election required all voting machines to be locked down, including those in Roanoke. Though the recount will take place next week, the machines must remain in lock down for a period in case the one of the candidates chooses to contest the integrity of the results after the election. That means the city won’t have its own machines available for the special election for the 11th District House of Delegates seat vacated by Democrat Onzlee Ware, who resigned citing concerns about his mother’s health. Voter Registrar Andrew Cochran had to go in search of 95 machines to borrow or rent for the day, and eventually found them at a North Carolina vendor called Printelect, with which the city has done business before. “They moved at lightning speed, and I appreciate that,” Cochran said.