Ballot mix-ups leave some wondering if their votes will count

Posted at 7:19 PM, Nov 07, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-07 19:19:07-05

For James Johnson, voting isn't an option.  “So many people have died, fought and died for the simple privilege to be able to vote.”

But despite going to the polls Tuesday, he didn't get to vote for one of the candidates he supports.

“Looking at the ballot, I realized that it was the wrong ballot for the wrong district,” Johnson explained.  He said he was told there was nothing that could be done and the ballot was cast.

He used a paper ballot -- given to senior citizens and people who are handicapped so they don't have to wait in line.

According to the chief election worker at the Lamberts Point Community Center where Johnson voted, that location was given the wrong ballots after running out at one point.  They believe about ten or 15 people used them.

Although the candidate he wanted to vote for won, Johnson is still upset by what happened.

“Bobby Scott won, but he did not get J.C.’s vote,” said Johnson.

Norfolk wasn't the only place where it happened.

Several polling locations in Newport News gave out the wrong ballots for the congressional district they were in, including Richneck Elementary, BC Charles Elementary and Yates Elementary.  According to an election worker, more than 80 of the wrong ballots were cast at one precinct.

So what happens to the votes people cast using the wrong ballots?

According to two members of Norfolk's Electoral Board, the votes cast for national and statewide races will count.

As for congressional district races, they said they will figure out what to do if and when they come across the wrong ballots in their vote canvassing.

They also said that voters who have concerns can bring them up at the electoral board's meetings this week.

They are open to the public.

You can also contact your local registrar's office for more information.

While Johnson still isn't sure exactly what will happen to his ballot, he hopes it's a lesson learned for the next election.

“What I’m hoping is through all this, that it doesn’t happen again,” said Johnson.