VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – On Tuesday, Virginia voters will head to the polls to cast their ballot for the Republican party primary – and for some of them, election security will be top of mind.
10 On Your Side toured the Virginia Beach election supply location to see its security precautions and hear firsthand from the electoral board about what’s being done to make sure votes are counted correctly.
“The question we always get is, are the machines connected to the Internet? And they’re not. They’re isolated,” said Jeffrey Marks, Esq., the Virginia Beach Electoral Board chairman.
“There’s no way people can infiltrate that,” he said.
Each polling place is headed by a precinct captain – a person who has sworn under oath to uphold the state’s policies when it comes to counting ballots. Immediately following the poll’s closing, a three-day canvassing effort will check to make sure the number of votes cast matches the number of registered voters who showed up to the polls.
“Mistakes will happen,” said Marks.
“We’ve had different situations over the years where people accidentally submit a sample ballot in the machine, things like that. You can catch those things, you can rectify them during the canvass.”
But voters can feel confident that whether they cast their ballot in-person or via a mail-in ballot, their vote will be counted correctly. Recently, changes to procedures have zeroed in on those provisional ballots.
“We have a process that takes a picture of the ballot and tracks it. If someone says ‘Well I never received my mail-in ballot,’ we can look and say, ‘Oh no, we can say, no this was mailed to you on this date,” he said.
“We can respond to them with facts.”
Dr. Eric Claville, a legal and political analyst for Norfolk State University, calls voter fraud a “non-issue.”
Statistically, he said, there’s no evidence that elections are tampered with.
“I think we really have to ask ourselves, is this a rabbit hole that we as Americans really want to go down after all the evidence that came out to debunk the issue of voter security in the 2020 election?”
“The voting machines are secure. The machines and mechanisms that we utilize – it’s all about checks and balances,” Claville said.
“To all Virginians that are voting [in the primary], I would say, that your vote will count, so feel confident.”