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Mythbusters

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Myth Busters

  MYTH

A record number of deceased voters cast ballots in 2020.

  FACT

The Virginia Department of Elections (ELECT) has one of the premier list maintenance programs in the country, including routine removal of deceased individuals. Beginning in 2013, ELECT began publishing an Annual Report on Voter Registration List Maintenance Activities, available here. The report details ELECT’s ongoing list maintenance activities, including removal of deceased and other ineligible voters, conducted on an ongoing and routine basis to maintain clean and accurate voter rolls in the Commonwealth. ELECT encourages the public to read the reports and understand the steps taken to ensure that only those legally eligible to vote can cast a ballot.


  MYTH

People are voting after the polls close.

FACT

Polling hours are from 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.  As long as you are in line by 7:00 p.m., you will be able to vote.


✘ MYTH

Convicted felons are allowed to vote.

FACT

If you have completed the terms of your sentence and probation and have had your rights restored,  you are eligible to register and vote in Virginia. Any person convicted of a felony loses their right to vote in Virginia. That right can only be restored by the Governor of Virginia.

You can find out more information, check the current status of your civil rights, and apply to have your rights restored through the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website:
 https://commonwealth.virginia.gov/judicial-system/restoration-of-rights/

The Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Restoration Department can be contacted directly at (804) 692-0104.

Once your rights have been restored, you must register to vote before you can qualify to receive a ballot at the next election.


MYTH

I’m registered to vote by political party / One party has more registered voters than the other.

FACT

Virginia residents do not register to vote by party.


MYTH

I don’t have my ID, so I can’t vote.

FACT

If you get to your polling place without an acceptable ID, you can sign an ID statement affirming your identity and you will be able to vote a regular ballot.

If you do not sign an ID statement to affirm your identity you may vote a provisional ballot, and be provided with instructions on how to ensure your vote is counted.


MYTH

College students can’t vote.

FACT

A college student votes in the same manner as any other registered voter, and may vote in person early, on Election Day, or absentee by mail.

Students who will be absent from the locality where they are registered to vote because they attend school in another locality are eligible to vote absentee.

If a college student would like to vote in the locality where their college/university is located, the student must register to vote in Virginia the same as any other applicant by submitting a voter registration application. Remember, you must update your voter registration information whenever you change your residence.

A dormitory or college address can be an acceptable residential address and does not disqualify you from voting. If your local voter registration office is unable to determine your physical residency based on a college address you provided on your voter registration application, the local voter registration office will contact you to request further information needed to register you to vote. Providing your email address and phone number on your voter registration application is a helpful way to ensure that the local voter registration office is able to contact you promptly. The local voter registration office may contact you by mail at the mailing address you provide on your voter registration application.

Note: Legal residence for voter registration purposes may or may not be the same as legal residence for census, driver’s license, federal and state income tax, state vehicle tax, tuition, or financial aid purposes. The Department of Elections and local election officials are not trained in these complex areas. You should consult appropriate advisors regarding these issues.


MYTH

Underage people are voting.

FACT

In Virginia, if you are 17 but will turn 18 by the November General Election, you can register to vote and will be eligible to vote in any primary or special election held that year. However, you must turn 18 on or before the November General Election in order to be able to vote.


MYTH

The 2020 Election results are fraudulent/incorrect/wrong. Election officials rigged the election in favor of Biden.

FACT

Pursuant to Va. Code §24.2-671.1, the Department of Elections is required to coordinate an annual post- election risk-limiting audit (RLA) of ballot scanner machines used in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Department of Elections conducted a statewide risk-limiting audit of the November 2020 General Election. Results were announced on March 2, 2021.

The state set a risk measurement of under .1 and the audit results fell well under that measurement. For the Presidential race the audit came in at .0000065117 and for the Senate race, the audit came in at .0000424172. The risk measurement represents the possibility a mistake could be found in the audit large enough to reverse the election result. In other words, these results confirm that the results in Virginia accurately portrayed the winners of these elections in Virginia.

You can view the results here.

Click here to download the 2020 Risk Limiting Audit Final Report.


MYTH

People are voting twice/ multiple times/ absentee and in person.

FACT

Both the Department of Elections and local general registrars work very hard to ensure that each ballot provided to a voter is accounted for. There is a robust system in place to ensure that voters only get to cast one ballot in each election. For example, if a voter has been mailed an absentee ballot, they have to return that ballot to the general registrar if they want to vote in person. If the voter does not return the ballot mailed to them, they have to sign a sworn statement that the ballot was either lost or never received. If the voter votes in person, then tries to vote their absentee ballot, the system will show that the voter already voted and the absentee ballot should not be counted. It also prompts the local general registrar to take any necessary steps with law enforcement.


MYTH

Voting machines are connected to the internet and can be hacked.

FACT

Voting machines in Virginia are prohibited from being connected to the internet. In fact, only one of the five types of voting machines even have the capability. Before those machines can be used, the General Registrar must test the machines to ensure that the capability is disabled.


MYTH

Voting credit is not immediately available election night so something fraudulent is happening.

FACT

Voting credit is not immediately available on election night because it takes time to process the information from all of the precincts on Election Day. When polls close on Election Day local election officials are focused on ensuring that the results reported to the public are accurate. It is only after Election Day that local officials begin to process voter credit.


MYTH

Thousands of ballots were destroyed after the 2020 General Election.

FACT

All ballots, whether they have been used to voting or were extras, are sealed and stored after Election Day. Local election officials keep an accurate count of the total number of ballots printed, how many were mailed to voters, how many were provided to voters during early voting or on Election Day, and how many are left unused. This ensures that every ballot is accounted for and that there is a paper trail that shows how all ballots were used. Thousands of ballots were not destroyed after the 2020 General Election. That would be easily evident, and there is no evidence that ballots were destroyed.