VIRGINIA, USA — Thousands of voting notices in two Northern Virginia counties were sent with the wrong information due to a printing issue, according to a statement from Virginia Commissioner of Elections Susan Beals.
Election officials in Fairfax and Prince William Counties say that 31,000 registered voters received the documents with the incorrect polling place location listed as the Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center in the city of Fairfax.
"It's particularly problematic just based on the timing we have here because it is so close to the election that people could go to the wrong location and especially because it is a completely different jurisdiction," said the Fairfax County Democratic Commission Chair Bryan Graham.
He told WUSA9 that they will be doing additional door-knocking and sending out updated flyers to address the mistake made by state officials.
After the redistricting process, the Department of Elections mailed over 6 million voter notices to registered voters across the state. The second batch of 176,000 notices was sent to registered voters whose original notice did not include their town district number or who had a P.O. Box.
But, due to a printing issue, some of those notices had the wrong polling place locations, according to Beals.
The Virginia Department of Elections determined that voters in the towns of Clifton, Dumfries, Haymarket, Herndon, Occoquan, Quantico, and Vienna experienced the issue of having incorrect voting location information on their notices.
This announcement about the misprint was made on Oct. 20, just a little more than two weeks away from Election Day, and almost a month after the start of early voting.
Just hours after learning about the mistake made by state officials, the election offices in Fairfax and Prince William Counties started sending out letters to the voters affected by the issue with the correct information.
"We have had a significant increase in calls because voters in these three towns were all given information that their polling place location is in Fairfax City, which is severely inaccurate," said Fairfax County's General Registrar Eric Spicer
He says the reactions from those affected have varied.
"Some are amused, some are confused, some are frustrated," said Spicer who is asking Fairfax County residents to use their voting guides sent out in late September to verify their polling center.
State Senator Jennifer Boysko shared a photo of her sample ballot on Twitter, saying, "Look for your green sample ballot for accurate information about your polling place."
County election officials are also recommending early voting to avoid any confusion. Allison Barry, a Herndon resident who voted Friday afternoon at the Fairfax County Government Center, expressed her frustration over the mistake affecting both counties.
"I was very concerned. In fact, we won't know how much of a detriment it was. The only thing I can say is we have to check and double-check before we go to our polling places."
Any voter can check their voting information on the Department’s website at www.elections.virginia.gov or by calling 804-864-8901 and dialing 0 for the operator.
WUSA9 reached out to the Fairfax County Republican Committee for comment about the issue but did not hear back.