Your daily Letter to the Columnist — Nov. 14, 2013
Although I wasn’t purged from the rolls,
I too, would have had to have voted by provisional ballot, if I had not checked the Election Registration and Information System page
(ERIS) of the Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) and seen that my polling place was Blacksburg Middle/High School (District F), rather than St. Michael’s Lutheran Church (District E), the polling place the Montgomery County Office of Voter Registration listed on my voter ID card.
And if I had voted at St. Michael’s on a provisional ballot, I’m not sure that it would have counted since I could not have proven to the Electoral Board that I was entitled to vote in the precinct shown on my card. Here’s the background:
Mr. Wertz made it very difficult for me to register to vote in 2012. After I succeeded, I noticed the polling-place discrepancy between the SBE website and the voter ID card I received. On Election Day in 2012, I started out by going to St. Michael’s, as listed on my card.
I observed a young man just ahead of me being told, “You’re a student, your polling place changed, this is a 2008 card.” The election official who checked me in told me I wasn’t on the rolls and insisted I, too, must have an outdated card, even though I showed her the recent postmark on the the envelope.
She didn’t offer any chance to check for the correct polling place on a SBE computer. Instead, she told me my only option was to vote on a provisional ballot. Nor did she tell me that if I voted on such a ballot, the Electoral Board would require me to prove I was entitled to vote in the precinct — which I’m not even sure I could even have done.
Rather than accept a provisional ballot, I left and went Blacksburg Middle/High School and succeeded in voting.
You can find the details in “Voter Suppression Close to Home“ and this year’s follow-up “Election Day in Montgomery County and Elsewhere in Virginia.”