by Countable | 3.9.18
A recent statewide analysis of Virginia voter's district assignments conducted by the Washington Post found about 6,000 voters could have voted in the wrong state legislature district, opening the door to disputes of close election results. Given average turnout across the state, as many as 2,800 votes may have been cast in the wrong race in 2017.
No similar study has been done for other states, so there is no knowing how prevalent the problem is nationwide.
How did this even happen, though?
The issue in Virginia appears to trace back to the last round of redistricting in 2010, which means the errors have existed for the last three election cycles. When district lines are redrawn local registrars have to manually assign voters to the correct districts, which sometimes split from one side of a block to another. And what to do with a cul-de-sac? They don’t even have sides!
"It’s about as manual a process as you can use and still be using a computer," stated Linda Lindberg, elections director and registrar in Arlington County to the Post.
Researchers at the University of Florida, Michael McDonald and Brian Amos, told the Post such errors are probably happening everywhere, given budget issues restricting registrars' access to resources, and the imperfections of mapping, especially in rural areas.
Virginia voters can confirm the accuracy of their district assignments by checking the Virginia Board of Elections website to see what their assignment should be, then checking their street address to find their assigned House district on the Virginia Assembly website. Any inconsistencies should be immediately reported to their local registrar.
For voters in other states who are curious to see if there are errors with their registration, they can check their voting assignments at My Reps, then search online for their state’s Board of Elections maps to do the same comparison.
Are you a Virginia voter who was assigned to the wrong district? Are you in another state and have you checked your district assignments? How hard was it to find the information? Should every state be required to initiate this sort of third party check following a redistricting effort?
Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!
— Asha Sanaker
(Photo Credit: OneVirginia2021.org)*
Written by Countable