Elections officials report that Virginia’s critical election system is malfunctioning during early voting, and worry it could fail on or before Election Day.
This isn’t the first time the Virginia Election and Registration Information System (VERIS) has presented issues. A 2018 report recommended the legislature replace VERIS. Specifically, the report stated that the system couldn’t be relied upon for elections.
“The state’s IT system (VERIS) used to maintain the voter registration list and interact with general registrars is not sufficiently functional or reliable. The system does not provide all of the functionality registrars need to administer elections effectively. The system has long-standing reliability problems that continue to slow processing speed during peak usage.
A 2019 survey of general registrars and electoral boards in all Virginia localities aligned with the 2018 report findings. Respondents cited VERIS causing delays with frequent slowing and timing out.
Across the board, respondents also reported inaccurate voter registration as a major issue with VERIS.
“Issues mentioned over and over were the process of incomplete or inaccurate voter registration application forms through the DMV, caused in part by the lack of mandatory fields and lack of warning messages in the process that could prevent registration mistakes.”
Fairfax City elections officials reported their inability to connect poll books into VERIS on the first day of early voting, according to interviews with 13NewsNow. Officials were concerned that the system failure would allow people to vote twice.
Fairfax City’s VERIS malfunction took hours to fix. The officials stated that their government officials didn’t get back to them, or any other local polling places having issues with VERIS, until the following Monday.
However, Virginia Elections Commissioner Christoper E. Piper says the system is fine to withstand this election.
“We’ve done a lot of work on VERIS, and we’ve added features and functions to ensure that when VERIS is being used by the citizens and the registrars, that is in optimal performance.”
VERIS isn’t scheduled to be replaced until 2022. Early voting ends on October 31.
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Voting Sign” by Tom Arthur. CC BY-SA 2.0.