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Computer Glitch Blamed for Erroneous Voter Registration Cards

by ARLnow.com August 5, 2011 at 4:38 pm 3,579 34 Comments

Arlington County is mailing new voter registration cards to as many as 10,000 voters who may have previously received cards with incorrect polling place information.

Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg said the erroneous cards were sent to voters in 3-4 precincts before county employees realized the mistakes, which included outdated precinct information (as a result of this year’s redistricting process) and incorrect polling place addresses. The mistakes were the result of a computer that was improperly programmed, Lindberg said.

Voters receiving a second mailing will get a new voter registration card and a letter explaining the errors. Adding to the confusion is the fact that many of the initially-mailed voter registration cards actually contained no incorrect information. An unknown number of the first batch of mailings did contain errors, however, so the entire batch is being sent again.

The problems arose as the county took its voter registration card mailings in-house. Lindberg noted that a contractor had been used to send the mailings in previous years. This year, to save money, the county took advantage of new mailroom and printing equipment to send the voter registration cards without outside help. In the end, she estimates, the cost to taxpayers will be about the same as previous years, despite the errors.

Lindberg said that the problems did not significantly delay the mailings.

“Everybody should have new cards by the end of next week, and that’s still ample time before the [Aug. 23] primary,” she said, adding that “most people will only get one card.”

Hat tip to Ian L.

  • JimPB

    Just so there isn’t a computer glitch that launches ICMs.

    Are we relying too much on computers and computer programming?

    • eastpike

      True this. My first thought upon receiving two voter cards last week.

  • Arlwhenever

    News Flash!

    “Even with significant cost reductions and revenue growth initiatives, current financial projections indicate the Postal Service will have a cash shortfall and will have reached its statutory borrowing limit by the end of the fiscal year. Absent substantial legislative change, the Postal Service will be forced to default on payments to the federal government.”

    The United State Postal Service thanks Arlington County for its repeat business.

    • normal

      The Postal Service would be doing just fine if it weren’t required by law to pre-fund it’s retiree healthcare (not pensions, health insurance), something no other agency or private company does.

      Fix that, and the USPS would be making a profit.

  • Just Me

    I got my new card today and it’s the same as what I got last week, so how much did this cost us?

    I guess this is way we will have the stupid county stickers to pay for all the stupid stuff. I wonder how many counties and cities in VA have the stickers, I bet not that many. I think I will google this later and see if I can find out.

    • Confused

      I received my second notice today as well and it is the same as I received last week. Hmmmm?

  • Lou

    Operator Error

  • bred

    Unless the polling place location was incorrect they should not have sent out new cards. I don’t think anyone cares which districts they are in. But I’d guess that they didn’t know what was wrong so everyone got a new card. Mine was identical to the ones I got last week.

  • David

    Thank you for posting this information. We were confused about why we received the second set of cards, as ours was correct the first time.

  • joe

    Another example of the worst local govt in the area!

    • Dadzarg

      I’m sure you have made an exhaustive study to support your claim. Your posting really is worthless.

    • John Snyder

      Just another crank spewing venom. A rebel without a clue.

    • Charlie

      Move . . . and see . . .

  • Barbin

    And, of course, the complainers who have responded are all so perfect they have never been involved in a computer glitch, at home or at work. (When I get my new card I expect to be in the same polling place, but my state senate district has changed; but then I already knew that since I went online some weeks ago to check it out.)

    • Arlwhenever

      Yes and when we cost our employer $30K plus (postage printing and paper costs for a second mailing) we suffer major consequences up to and including termination. There is zero fiscal accountability in Arlington County government.

      • John Snyder

        Cries for accountability from an un-accounatable, anonymous internet creep! If you want accountability, why not be accountable for your own words? Oh, that’s right, that would require integrity. No name, no integrity, no credibility.

      • Sam

        So, if Arlington County were to apologize and offer you a refund of your fair share of the cost, in what denomination would you like your fraction of a penny? Would you like your minute shaving of copper all at once or in smaller pieces? Even though I have no affiliation with Arlington County government, I would be more than happy to mail you a penny to cover several times more than your share of the costs if you promise to be quiet.

      • normal

        1. The consequences vary greatly in the private sector. A computer error might be cause for dismissal, or just a computer error that was nobody’s fault, or something in between.

        2. You don’t know if there have been or will be any consequences to an employee in the government. You’re just assuming.

      • Charlie

        And your assumption re: Arlington’s lack of fiscal accountability comes from where?

  • Becker

    We got cards for the previous owner who moved to FL 7 years ago!

    • John Snyder

      And have you reported the error to the registrar? Or is being helpful beneath you?

      • normal

        I wonder if that means Becker hasn’t even bothered to register to vote. But then he’s complaining about government…

        • Charlie

          You nailed it . . .

  • Integrity Credibility

    And could you, John Snyder, be a little less caustic?

    Using a nom-de-plume in a forum such as this does not take away from the validity of the comment any more than using your name makes you seem less a boob.

    Or is that above you?

    • John Snyder

      No. I don’t think I can be less caustic about people who don’t have the integrity to stand behind their words, while attacking the integrity of others, making totally baseless allegations, and complaining for the sake of complaining, without ever doing anything to make life in Arlington better. When people use their names, they take responsibility for whether their words are true, whether they offend someone, or whether some anonymous internet creep might think they are caustic.

  • Dan

    I liked the inclusion of a “hat tip”.


  • Publius

    YEAH! Like those Federalist creeps that me and John Snyder just hate: Hamilton, Madison, and Jay.

    No integrity whatsoever.


    • John Snyder

      I don’t hate pen names, just using them to hurl insults and accusations without personal accountability. I think Hamilton is a pretty good example of personal accountability regarding sharp words in the political sphere.

      • Tom Wopat

        I just wanna say I thought you were GREAT in the Duke of Hazzard.

  • Maria Lewis Reynolds

    You do, huh? But you wrote something entirely different.

    Joe’s entitled to his opinion, just as you are to yours. Did Joe conduct an ad hominem assault? Arlwhenever gave an opinion following Barbin’s; who’s the creep again? Becker provided some info about a mailing; did you?

    Is using the name John Snyder a license for imbecilic sanctimony or something?

    Now let’s be friends.

    P.S. I slept with Aaron Burr.

    • Dan


  • eastpike

    For what it’s worth the second card I received had entirely different information (voting location, and distrcit numbers) than my first card did. I was annoyed at the government waste, but more than that I don’t have a lot of faith in accurate voting results now… I hope they dont use the same computer system to tally votes.

  • D H

    I just moved within Arlington County and filled out a change of address form with the post office. A few weeks later I got a letter from the VA Board of Elections that they’d noticed that I’d moved and wanted to verify that they had my current address (yay for proactive government!)
    The only problem was that the address that they showed as my registered voting address was actually a previous address of mine (from 2009). My 2010 address was shown as the “new” address and they apparently had not heard of my 2011 address even though surely this was what USPS reported to them as my change of address. Concerned for the quality of their records, I called to let them know that the address that their form reported as my current registered address did not match the address listed on my voter’s card, both of which were now incorrect since I had recently moved and had only just received the form to report this to them. The gentleman on the phone advised me to merely mail in my new address on the form and didn’t seem to want to listen to my concern for the quality of their records. (Note: my guess is that this is really only a problem with this particular notification system that unfortunately renders it relatively useless and not the overall quality of their records, but it’s impossible to know from the outside.)
    The point of the story is, Arlington County isn’t the only one with computer glitches in the system, but at least they seem to recognize, acknowledge, and deal with glitches when they occur….


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