Virginia for Election Transparency

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Locality: Harrisonburg City

File Name: Harrisonburg City Survey 20210901

ObserversNed Adamsom, Mac Nichols, Richard Little, Donna Reilly
Date of interview09/01/2021
Time and date of initial call and email:08/26/2021
Time and date of response:08/26/2021
Did the registrar refuse to meet you:No
If yes, please provide the reason given for not meeting:
Survey Answers
1. What is your biggest concern about the upcoming election?No real concerns, other than the COVID factor, this is my third election. I feel my job is educating the public & answering questions. Advertising to get info out to public is a concern due to budgeting restrictions. I’ve only been the Registrar during COVID. News papers help to get info out about early voting, dates, times & locations that have changed in the past few years.
2. Any other major concerns?I have sufficient Volunteers; more Republicans than the last election. It is the goal to have equal representation, but sometimes people’s schedules prevent the exact number to be equal @ every poll. It is the goal to have equal Dems/Republican/Independent representation. CAP, Central Absentee Processing for early voting requires 3. He added that the Electoral Board mirrors the Governor’s office. If Democratic, then 2 Dems & 1 Rep.
3. Do you feel like you have the resources, equipment, personnel, and training needed to run an effective election in November?Yes
3a. Any additional information?
4. If no, what is missing?
5. The county election board is supposed to consist of 2 Democrats and a Republican under a Democrat governor, but in some areas, boards have had trouble finding willing Republicans and have appointed an Independent instead, or another Democrat. What is the situation in this county?2D+R
6. What about precinct staff? Are you able to have equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans?Yes
6a. Provide DetailsI sometimes have to use independent if not enough of one party.
7. Is the county Board of Elections engaged in your work year-round, or mostly near elections?Yearly
7a. Any additional information?City Board of Elections meet year round, 1-2 times monthly.
8. When was the last audit of the voter file in your county?2021-06-28 00:00:00
8a. No. of days since last audit:
8b. Any additional information?NCO audit last week of June,2021
9a. Does the Health Department send a list of deceased people to your office every month so they can be removed from the voter roll?No
9b. If no, how often do they send a list?It is not required by VA Law. The Dept of Elections relays information as they are conduit for info. Then the rolls are updated that day by the registrar’s office. Info is received once monthly
10. When was the last time the Clerk of Courts submitted a list of individuals who declined to serve on jury duty on the basis of being a non-citizen?
10a. Any additional information?The Clerk of Courts is not required to jury info on non-citizens. A list of non-citizens is given by the Dept of Elections but again, only pass on the info.
Record date and other list(s), if relevantThe Clerk of Courts is not required to jury info on non-citizens. A list of non-citizens is given by the Dept of Elections but again, only pass on the info.
11. When was the last time you had access to the National Change of Address List or any other change of address list?
Other list(s):We do not have access directly to the National Change of Address List but the Board of Elections forwards the info to the Registrar’s office.
12a. Are you confident that the voter file is accurate and up to date?Yes
12b. If no, what is/are your main concern(s) about the list?It’s accurate but student population fluctuates & many do not update their addresses. It’s the transient nature of students. Harrisonburg has a large number due to JMU & other colleges.
13. How many households in your locality have more than 7 individuals registered at the same address? Number:Not sure about households with more than 7 individuals, but student housing would qualify.
14. During registration, how do you verify that voters are citizens?Voter verification is done by the box they check, per VA code. F/U question about IDs. People may bring in IDs but utility bills are also acceptable @ time of registration. The VARIS system will flag social security numbers if used by another person. Social Seecurity numbers are required @ registration.
15. There are three types of voting machines used in Virginia. Can you tell me which machines you use?VA uses scanning machines, the ES&S DS 200 model 440.
16. Who calibrates the voting machines, and can you please explain the process?The Custodians of the Office of Elections, 4 people total. Vendor training is done by USB. Ballots are printed, marked by ballpoint pen & then scanned by voter. F/U question about felt pens…all felt pens removed secondary to potential bleeding through of felt pen.
17. Do you invite party representatives to witness the calibration?Yes
17a. Any additional information?The Registrar’s office just sent out notices to parties and candidates, including Independent candidates. They were sent the end of August of 2021
18a. Are voting machines ever connected to the internet?No
18b. If they are not connected to the internet, how and when are they updated?The voting machines are not connected to the internet. Updates occur by USB. Poll Books can sometimes be connected to internet for satellite location but Harrisonburg does not use Satellite locations currently.
19. As an election professional, do you think the changes made in the election process in Virginia in response to COVID have weakened election integrity, strengthened election integrity, or made no change in election integrity?Unknown
19a. Any additional information?I don’t know, as I am new in this position of Registrar. I’ve had the COVID regulations in every election I’ve overseen.
20a. Did you receive any funding or in-kind contributions for training, staff, voter education or equipment, or any other purpose from outside the state of Virginia?No
20b. If yes, what was the funding or contribution used for?Harrisonburg received no outside money from any group. We received federal money through the Cares Act from the Dept of Elections. I did receive an email from an organization headed by Arnold Schwarzennegger with the opportunity to apply for a grant. This office did not apply & I’m not aware if other registrar’ office in Va did so.
21. Effective Jul 1, 2021, Senate Bill 1097, eliminated requirements for voters to have a witness signature on absentee ballots for any election during a declared state of emergency. The Governor has now rescinded the state of emergency. How are you training your staff to ensure that there is a signature match for the upcoming elections?VA does not require signature match. Witness signatures must be present this year. All Drop off locations must be manned by 2 people and require chain of custody.
22. There is a lot of concern in Virginia and across the country about the security and integrity of the ballot drop boxes. What are the chain of custody procedures for ballot drop boxes?Currently, there are no exterior drop boxes, only drop off locations. The locations are inside of the Registrar’s office & @ polling locations on election day. There is discussion about having drop off locations during this election for people who may have transportation issues or who are not comfortable mailing ballots. Likely, the Lucy Simms building, VMRC, JMU possibly other nursing homes. These drop boxes will have 2 staff members & will follow chain of custody seals.
23. Was there any time during the last election cycle when your drop boxes did not have video monitoring?No
23a. Any additional information?All drop boxes are currently inside of buildings, none outside.
24. Who is responsible for reviewing the video?N/A
24b. Were party observers present during the review?Yes
25. Would you provide training and support, or designate us to provide training and support, for an election day page program as described in 24.2-604.3?Yes
25a. Any additional information?We have a pilot program with Harrisonburg High School and potentially Eastern Mennonite High School.
26. Would you authorize non-partisan election observers with the same rights as party representatives; as described in 24.2-604.5 A?No
26a. Any additional information?I would not independently authorize but in tandem with the Electoral Board & the Registrar’s office.
27. Would you authorize international non-partisan observers from recognized election monitoring organizations?No
27a. Any additional information?No, again only in tandem with the Electoral Board.
28. Have your local party chairs been notified that they are entitled to send observers to your office each day it is open and receiving in-person absentee ballots?Unknown
28a. Any additional information?We are looking for direction from the State of Elections Board about the process. Currently, the process after the ballot is received by the Registrar’s office, is to open the exterior envelope, then the interior address barcode is scanned to verify that it was received, then it’s taken to an undisclosed secure location. The CAP team scans in the vote. This year there is a witness signature that must be present. Yes, on the VA website, there is a “Do’s & Don’ts list for campaigners & authorized representatives.
29a. Do you have a publication that you provide to your election officials regarding rights and responsibilities of observers?Yes
29b. If no, would you be willing to distribute such a publication that we would prepare based on Virginia law?Yes
30. Question Please characterize your interaction with the Registrar asHelpful Polite

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