Verify: Would you ever get a phonecall that your polling station changed?
Would a county election board ever call you to tell you that your assigned polling station has changed?
Commissioner Cortes- Virginia Department of Elections
Judith Brown- Loudoun County Director of Elections
Linda Lindberg- Arlington County Director of Elections
Proverbial alarm bells rang yesterday when the ACLU and NAACP tweeted that robocallers were calling people in Prince William, Virginia saying that their assigned voting location had changed.
🚨We are getting reports of calls to Virginia voters falsely saying that their polling place has changed. 🚨— ACLU (@ACLU) November 7, 2017
If you receive a call:
✔️Confirm your polling place at https://t.co/3NmwdTvoHb
✔️ Report it to @ACLUVA at 804-644-8080#ElectionDay #vagov
If you live in VA and get a call saying your polling location has changed today, call @866OURVOTE. Confirm your location and VOTE!— Legal Defense Fund (@NAACP_LDF) November 7, 2017
People typically hung up or reported the incident. The Virginia Department of Elections says they're aware of the incident and police are on it.
"The Department of Elections has received some complaints regarding robocalls to voters in Prince William County providing incorrect information related to polling place changes and we have referred the matter to law enforcement for investigation, Commissioner Cortes said. "If a voter has any questions about their polling place location, they can visit vote.virginia.gov to look up their voter registration information, including their polling place."
So we know its a hoax, but Verify wanted to find out--would your county board of elections ever call you the day-of to tell you your assigned locations been changed?
"No, never, uh-uh," Linda Lindberg, Director of Elections for Arlington County said. "We send notices only when a polling place has changed or if someone moves then a new voter card with a new polling location."
According to Virginia's Election Law, in the event of a poll location change, the county board must send a notice in the mail at least two weeks prior to the general election.
Voting locations did change this year, at least once in Arlington County because the Roslyn Fire Station, an assigned polling station, was planning to be torn down. In Loudoun, three precincts were added, according to Director of Elections Judith Brown.
Polling locations can change for any number of reasons: not accessible to people with disabilities, not enough parking, construction or simply, the venue no longer wants polling there.
"One request came from [the Leesburg Community Church] that no longer wants to host us," Brown said. "It's a conflict--they have a school that goes on there at the church so when we have Primary elections in June, it conflicts with their schedule."
One things for certain, they never call you.
"We don’t really have phone numbers for most of our registered voters," Lindberg said.
In the event of an emergency, when an election board doesn't have two weeks notice, they use social media, news outlets, like WUSA9, flyers and man the old location with an election volunteer to direct people to their new location.