Virginia for Election Transparency

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Locality: Arlington County

File Name: Arlington Survey 20210921

ObserversFrank Lusby, Sue Arnold, Rich Samp, Dana Leavitt
Date of interview09/01/2021
Time and date of initial call and email:09/01/2021
Time and date of response:09/01/2021
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?Physical security concerns from mistrust in elections and Arlington’s proximity to the US Capital (in other parts of the country there have been threats to Registrar Office staff, etc.). Otherwise staffing, machines, etc. are OK
2. Any other major concerns?
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?Biggest challenge is having adequate space for polling facilities, early voting, etc. With the new VA voting rights act the VA Attorney General needs to approve any changes in polling stations for many jurisdictions (just enacted on July 1st) / not sure if Arlington is a “covered jurisdiction” under the new law and will be subject to higher levels of scrutiny
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 DetailsThey do their best to balance out Republican and Democrat in precincts. At the “appointment stage” of appointing election officers they don’t look at party affiliation but at the “assignment stage” they try to balance and ensure parity in precincts among D/R Assistants and Chiefs. Under the Hatch Act they are not allowed to ask federal employees their party affiliation. Many of them are poll workers. Parties supposed to provide list of proposed Election Officers in January of each year – but they rarely do. She is working with GOP Unit head to identify members of the Republican party. Registrar Staff - they were given two more permanent positions this year - currently recruiting. Temporary staff – they had 100 last year / they might have a few openings but will mostly use same staff as last year / might supplement with the 15-40 more
7. Is the county Board of Elections engaged in your work year-round, or mostly near elections?Mostly
7a. Any additional information?She keeps them updated throughout the year. The Board appoints the Director of Election (Registrar) - Election office management is separate from the County Board and County Management
8. When was the last audit of the voter file in your county?
8a. No. of days since last audit:
8b. Any additional information?Efforts take place all year. The Registrar’s office removes people from the voters list in Arlington (not the State). Every month they get lists of people (mostly from the State) on who have moved, felons, etc. They do periodic internal audits including cross matching SSN. When undelivered mail is returned it triggers a confirmation process / they send letter asking person to update their address/ if they don’t get response person goes into “non-active” status. Observer gave example of her daughter who left Arlington in 1994 but still gets letters – it was explained that new/improved process put into place in 2003
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?Yes
9b. If no, how often do they send a list?
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?Doesn’t get specific list about individuals who declined jury duty to being a non-citizen; gets periodic list of those who have declined to serve due to ineligibility, but reasons for ineligibility are not listed.
Record date and other list(s), if relevantDoesn’t get specific list about individuals who declined jury duty to being a non-citizen; gets periodic list of those who have declined to serve due to ineligibility, but reasons for ineligibility are not listed.
11. When was the last time you had access to the National Change of Address List or any other change of address list?2021-08-02 00:00:00
Other list(s):Recently (within last month) completed the NCAL process. They get list from US. Dept. of Elections (via Post Office who creates list when people change their address)
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?They do their best but Arlington is a very transient place. Depends on voters responding to things that are sent to them. Sometimes landlords give them lists of those who have vacated rental units but they can’t act on those directly – still need to follow-up with individuals.
13. How many households in your locality have more than 7 individuals registered at the same address? Number:Unknown / difficult to know. Address lists don’t specify if there are more than 7 individuals
14. During registration, how do you verify that voters are citizens?First checkbox of registration form is to affirm they are citizens but no way to verify this. No list of US citizens that they can compare with. There is a system at the DMV where people can check a box stating that they are citizens, but not sure exactly how this works. New VA law allows DMV customers to opt out of forwarding their driver information to the voting registrar. (Previous law required DV customers to opt out of forwarding their information). DMV asks if person is eligible to vote in another state – if the answer is yes then VA notifies the other state that the individual has registered to vote in Virginia - other states (but not all) inform VA in the same way. They have had “data quality issues” with the DMV.
15. There are three types of voting machines used in Virginia. Can you tell me which machines you use?UNISON Open Elect Voting System (2015)
16. Who calibrates the voting machines, and can you please explain the process?Registrar Office staff calibrate the machines. Technically, this is accuracy testing, not calibration
17. Do you invite party representatives to witness the calibration?Yes
17a. Any additional information?Party representatives are invited to “Logic and Accuracy Testing” exercise. No one can tamper with machines after that.
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?Software is put on USB sticks by in-house Registrar Office programmers and then entered into the machines. USB drive content is not examined by outsiders
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?Refused
19a. Any additional information?No opinion – the legislators make the laws and the Registrar’s office executes
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?Yes
20b. If yes, what was the funding or contribution used for?Arlington Registrar office accepted funding from the “Center for Tech and Civic Life” (CTCL). Funding helped cover cost of extra staff (esp. for processing of absentee ballots) and space for early voting. They also got some funding from Federal CARES Act. She is not sure how much they received from CTCL. CTCL agreement and amount can be requested via FOIA (Registrar will send to us based on our request). Process for solicitation and approval of funding from CTCL: - Registrar’s office sent in application based on offer they received from CTCL - Arlington County Manager approved
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 doesn’t do signature matching. VA does now requires witness signature. They just sent out an order to the printer for new forms and are hoping that process does not change before election! If they get an absentee ballot without witness signature they start a “curing process” where they identify the voter and notify them of the steps needed to cure the defect
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?Two temporary staff from registrar’s office pick up ballot drop box ballots every day (paper chain of custody). There are nine drop boxes in Arlington – mostly in libraries and community centers (County Property)
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 the drop boxes in Arlington have video monitoring
24. Who is responsible for reviewing the video?The video is only reviewed in the case of suspected tampering. In that case they turn over to the police. There were no instances of suspected tampering in last election
24b. Were party observers present during the review?No
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?They have done PAGE programs in the past but there are no plans for the Nov. Election. Requires a high school government teacher. Also requires a full time temporary Registrar office employee to manage
26. Would you authorize non-partisan election observers with the same rights as party representatives; as described in 24.2-604.5 A?Refused
26a. Any additional information?This is up to the Election Board not the Registrar
27. Would you authorize international non-partisan observers from recognized election monitoring organizations?Yes
27a. Any additional information?In the past Arlington has authorized representatives from the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) to observe elections in Arlington. No plans to have international observers in Nov. Election
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?Yes
28a. Any additional information?Yes (this is an Electoral Board responsibility)
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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