What’s making many absentee ballots incomplete in Virginia?

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Just two weeks into early voting in Virginia, registrars across the Commonwealth are reporting a rising number of incomplete ballots.

Absentee or mail-in voters are forgetting to get a witness signature on their ballots. Without it, their ballot is invalid — and it’s become a big issue for the Chesterfield County Registrar.

“We’ve had over 100,” said Constance Hargrove, Director of Elections for Chesterfield County.

She thinks voters are confused.

“Last year and prior to the November election we were under a state of emergency where the witness signature was waived, that is not the case for the November 2nd election,” Hargrove explained

This year, the law states voters must have a witness watch them sign their ballot, the envelope B portion. That witness then needs to add their signature before the ballot is returned.

“We’re trying to get as much information out as possible,” Hargrove said.

Right now, voters missing that witness signature are being contacted and re-issued ballots as part of the registrar’s curing process.

“We are re-issuing the ballots to them because we can’t sign it,” Hargrove said. “They can’t just show up and ask us to sign it as their witness because we did not witness them opening the ballot and actually voting the ballot.”

After a mishap with a wrong phone number on a mailer last month, the Chesterfield Registrar wants to remind voters the correct number to call with questions is 804-748-1471.

On Thursday, Oct. 7, the county is planning to hold a Facebook Live event to answer voter’s questions.

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