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Democracy Withheld for 299 Virginia Residents

by Tara Young // Published February 29, 2008
Be heard; vote! 299 Virginia residents drove, walked and bussed to the polls to vote in the Democratic Presidential Primary only to be silenced by Virginia"s election officials.

According to The Times-Dispatch, many polling places in Chesterfield County ran out of ballots so the Chesterfield County"s election officials thought quickly to solve the problem - allow voters to vote using blank sheets. Problem solved. Democracy evident.

Not!

After attempting not to disenfranchise hundreds of voters, the state"s board of election voted to disenfranchise them.

Nancy Rodrigues, who is the secretary for the board, said they could not count the votes because the written format violated election law, and only approved emergency ballots could be counted. However, she went on to say in the article, if the ballot was copied on a blank sheet of paper it would have been counted.

Huh?

Chairman John N. Clifford, who is with the Chesterfield Board, told the reporter, "I think they had it within their discretion to count them, and I think they should have counted the votes."

I agree. The voters followed directions, and they should not be punished for the lack of planning done by the state. There were over twenty states that caucused or voted before Virginia, and each state reported a record-breaking voter turnout. Virginia officials did not take heed, and voters were forced to vote using a sheet of paper and not a ballot.

The officials of Virginia should have rewarded the voters' effort and counted their votes.

What do you think?

Is this democracy withheld for 299 Virginia residents?