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Virginia Dept. of Elections Commissioner confident in security of upcoming election

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Posted at 3:06 PM, Oct 27, 2021

VIRGINIA DEPT. OF ELECTIONS COMMISSIONER CONFIDENT IN SECURITY OF UPCOMING ELECTION — NORFOLK, Va. - Dept. of Elections Commissioner Chris Piper said he's confident in the security of the election with just days to go before Election Day in Virginia.

Piper told News 3 he is not aware of any cyber threats ahead of the election.

"Here in Virginia we have dedicated staff here at the Department of Elections to prevent election security issues. We're feeling very confident about our posture, our security posture. We've always been strong. We've only strengthened ourselves over the last few years," said Piper.

Piper also explained some of the changes they've made this year. For example, local registrars are now required to begin the process of making sure mail-in ballots are ready to be counted ahead of Election Day.

In 2020, that was optional, leading to many localities to report the mail-in ballots later in the night. That led to big swings in the results and confusion.

Shortly after the polls close on Tuesday, Piper said the number of mail-in ballots that have been received should be reported on the Department of Elections website.

The early in-person results will also be posted on their own section of the Department of Elections website, another change. Then, day-of numbers will be reported as normal.

Local registrars have also been trying to make sure people understand if they vote by mail they do need a witness signature on the ballot. The requirement was waived at other points during the pandemic, leading some voters to leave it off this time.

If someone does leave off a witness signature, the registrar is supposed to notify them, so they can correct it.

Piper also cautions that several of these races could be close. Local registrars have until November 9 to certify the results and then the state will certify them. If races are very close, the numbers could change until they're declared official.

After months of planning and weeks of early voting, local election officials say they're ready. "I'm confident as to the process. I'm confident as to the security. I'm confident as to the accuracy. I feel good about where we are," said Jeff Marks, the Chairman of the Virginia Beach Electoral Board.