Richmond County voters have already cast over three times more absentee ballots than in the 2016 presidential election.

General registrar Halle Cullison said between September 18 and October 7, 842 people voted. By comparison, only 237 people submitted absentee votes during the entire election season in 2016. “That tells you how much more interest there is in this election,” she told the board of supervisors.

Meeting the requirements

This year, Virginia is requiring that local governments provide voters with a secure ballot drop box that’s available 24/7, and it must be monitored. Since the early voting period began, Richmond County has relied on a temporary drop box in the voter registration office. But Cullison said the county’s real ballot box is expected to arrive on October 18.

Furthermore, she has had motion detection cameras with audio capability installed in the lobby of the voting registrar’s office as well as outside, to cover the ballot box once it arrives.

To help the county meet additional requirements for this election, Virginia issued an additional $49,218 in CARES Act funding for the voter registrar’s, which the board adopted into the budget at this month’s meeting.

Those funds will be used to cover expenses, such as staffing, supplies and equipment. “Some of the money may also be for additional security measures suggested by the Department of Elections,” said County Administrator Morgan Quicke.

Election day staff

As was the case for the June 2020 elections, some people have recently notified Cullison that they decided not to work the polls on November 3. She said they’re generally the same people who opted out this summer. But with a training session scheduled and the heightened interest in this election, she is hoping that she will be able to avoid any staffing issues.