‘Are you registered to vote?’
A look at election day through the eyes of Lynchburg City’s registrar’s office
The 2012 presidential election was a logistical nightmare according to Lynchburg city officials Vicki Bradlee and Kim Conner.
So for 2016, they are doing everything in their power to make sure things are in order for the Nov. 8th election.
Bradlee, chief election official for the Vines Center, said in 2012, she did not leave her voting precinct until almost 11 p.m., even though the polls closed at 7 p.m. Conner, Lynchburg city deputy registrar, said she was in the Registrar’s Office until 1 a.m. that day.
Not wanting to replicate those events, the office is taking steps to improve their process and make sure they are ready for this year’s election. Bradlee said one of the most important things they have done is speak in Convocation at Liberty University.
“That is one of the key things we’re doing to prepare to receive the students on Nov. 8,” Bradlee said.
“A step that we’ve recently taken that we’ve never been able to accomplish before was getting into Convocation so we could speak to the masses so they could hear.”
Bradlee said with the last presidential election being in 2012, most of the students who voted in Lynchburg then are no longer on campus.
“The students that I’m going to see this November are brand new,” Bradlee said. “So it was imperative that we start the communication for an effective election and voting process … in September.”
Bradlee said their goal is to have everything in order before Election Day so that the process of bringing people through the precinct is as smooth as possible.
“Even with the volume of voters, if we can minimize the errors, then you’ve got a seamless process,” Bradlee said.
“They come in. They check in at the electronic poll book. They get their pink card. They take it to get a ballot. They vote. They leave. If we can keep that assembly line going, it is a beautiful thing.”
Conner said that the most important thing students need to be aware of before Nov. 8 is their voter registration status.
The Vines Center is only for students who live on campus, not for those who live off campus or plan to vote absentee.
For students that live at the Residential Annex, they will vote at Sheffield Elementary School, and Liberty will provide bus service from the dorms to the precinct.
According to Conner, some students intending to register to vote absentee in their own state are actually registering to vote here in Lynchburg.
Conner said it is personal preference as to which way a student wants to vote, but they need to make sure they choose one because registering to vote in two different places is a Class 6 felony.
Conner said during a phone call, she recently discovered that a student was registered in both Georgia and Virginia.
“I had to tell her in all honesty that it is a crime, and a very serious crime at that,” Conner said.
“It’s a felony (to be registered in both states), and she was unaware. … It’s your choice, whatever choice you make, but you cannot be (registered in) both. There are a lot of kids that don’t know that because they’ve been told something different, but they can get in a lot of trouble.”
If students are concerned they unknowingly registered in two places, Conner said they should contact the Lynchburg Registrar’s Office immediately to clear that up before it becomes a larger issue.
The registrar can be reached at 434-477-5999, and more information can be found online www.lynchburgva.gov/registrarsoffice.
Gee is a copy editor.