Feb. 21, 2023- Poll workers had trouble scanning ballots in the Gainesville District this morning. As of 9:30 a.m. Prince William County Director of Elections Eric Olsen said the scanning process is now working, and all votes will be counted.
Update at 10:54 p.m.: At 10:45 a.m. Bristow Beat received a report from a citizen that Gravely Elementary School has not yet been able to scan ballots and is still holding on to ballots to count by hand.
There is a Special Election today in the Gainesville Magisterial District to elect a supervisor to represent the district on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. The two candidates are Kerensa Sumer-D and Robert "Bob" Weir-R.
Polls opened at 6 a.m., at which time poll workers at all locations realized that scanners would not accept the paper ballots. According to Olsen, poll workers accepted all ballots and placed them in a bin so they could be later counted by hand as is the protocol.
Investigating the problem, Olsen said that the election office realized the ballots were cut 1/16th of an inch too wide. Poll workers were advised to print their own ballots on the correct measured paper until the office could deliver a larger supply of ballots.
By 9 a.m. Olsen believes that all or most of the polling stations have received the new ballots. He said that they are scanning again and he has no reason to believe any vote will not be counted.
Olsen also said the morning turnout was small, so there will not be many ballots that require counting by hand, nor would the lines have driven people away.
Bristow Beat heard of the incident from a Gainesville resident who was outside the polls at Gravely Elementary School. She expressed her concern that the election could be contested. However, Olsen said there is no reason to believe that votes will not be counted, nor has he heard that anyone was turned away or left.
The polling places are open until 7 p.m. If people did not fill out a ballot due to the mixup, they can return to the polls to vote.
Note the election is for the Gainesville District and many people with a Gainesville address live in the Brentsville District.
Polling Places (People must go to assigned polling precinct)