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Va. State Board of Elections: Computer problems won't affect voters

Rosalind Helderman

The Virginia State Board of Elections is trying to assure voters that recent computer issues that have caused computers to run slowly for local registrars will not affect Tuesday's vote.

The program that's been troubled is the state's voter database. Called VERIS, state officials said in a release Friday that the issues have been resolved.

Even if VERIS were to run slowly on Tuesday, they said, the problem should not affect the voting process because it is an isolated database, not connected with either the electronic e-poll books used at polling places to check-in voters or to electronic voting machines.

"The database application, VERIS, has experienced periods of slowness recently. However, it has been operational and is now performing at normal speed," Nancy Rodrigues, secretary of the State Board of Elections, said in a statement.

"Virginians can be assured that we do have back-up plans to the back-up plans," she continued. "As in every election, if for whatever reason a person's name is not on the poll book when they go to vote, Virginia law provides the voter the opportunity to vote by provisional ballot. Once it has been determined the person is a registered voter in that locality then the provisional ballot is counted."

Fairfax County General Registrar Edgardo Cort├ęs confirmed Thursday that the VERIS program seemed to be running more quickly than it had at the beginning of the week. But he said he and his staff were still finding spotty performance whey they tried to produce accurate absentee ballot reports.

And he said they have experienced periodic total outages of the system ever since a massive computer outage that affected 26 state agencies in August.

He agreed that residents shouldn't find any trouble voting on Election Day, even if the kind of computer problems he's been seeing in recent days crop up.

But he noted that the system is used after polls close by local boards reporting their results to the State Board of Elections. If the system were to crash on Tuesday evening, he said, Fairfax will still be able to post its own results online. But counties would have trouble submitting their results to Richmond, and the state board would then, in turn, have trouble posting results online. In that worst-case scenario, results from Virginia's hotly contested congressional races would probably be delayed.

By Rosalind Helderman  | October 29, 2010; 3:03 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races, Election 2010, Rosalind Helderman  
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