A nonprofit group alleges that in two precincts in Virginia, election machines reported counting more votes than actual ballots, an irregularity that could have decided two key congressional races.
According to Just The News, the Electoral Process Education Corporation (EPEC) released a report claiming that the error occurred in two precincts in Prince William County, one of the northernmost counties in Virginia; the machines in question ultimately reported a higher number of ballots scanned than the number of ballots counted by the election workers themselves.
The precincts in question were P-612 and P-104, the former of which is located in Virginia’s 7th congressional district, while the latter is in the 10th congressional district. These two contests were among the three major swing seats in Virginia that the Republican Party targeted for possible pickups from the Democrats. In the 7th district, incumbent Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) defeated Republican challenger Yesli Vega (R-Va.); in the 10th district, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton won re-election against challenger Hung Cao (R-Va.).
In P-612 in the 7th district, 531 ballots were reported as having been scanned by the machines, even though workers counted just 504 ballots. In P-104, there were at least 10 more ballots counted by the machines than counted by hand.
Although these numbers alone were not enough to change the results of either election, the discrepancy raises questions about other possible occurrences throughout these districts and other key districts in Virginia and across the country.
In its report, EPEC said that it “is urging Virginia’s public election officials to verify scanner machine ballot counts before certification of results in key precincts as a result of recent findings.”
“Although the number of ballots impacted was small,” the report noted, “the repeated findings raise questions about the origin of the errors and whether the machines were operating correctly.”
Prince William County has seen prior instances of corruption among election officials. The former county registrar, Michele White, has been charged with two felony counts of corrupt conduct and for making a false statement, as well as a misdemeanor charge of willful neglect of duty. Her successor, General Registrar Eric Olsen, earlier this year reported “discrepancies” to the State Board of Elections, which are currently being investigated by State Attorney General Jason Miyares (R-Va.).