Virginia Republicans now plan to hand count ballots cast in a statewide convention May 8.
Party Chairman Rich Anderson said the decision comes after several gubernatorial candidates complained the ballot counting software system the party had planned to use could not be trusted to deliver accurate results. The convention delegates will select nominees for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.
Anderson said 53,524 Republicans have registered to cast ballots through an unusual drive-in convention. There will be 37 voting sites around the commonwealth.
When voting concludes at 4 p.m. May 8, teams will drive the ballot boxes to Richmond. Anderson said for security reasons they will be instructed not to stop for gas.
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The boxes will be delivered to a ballroom at the Richmond Marriott where off-duty police have been hired to guard the ballots until May 10 when the counting begins.
It’s estimated about 60 people will be needed to tabulate the ranked-choice ballots. An independent auditing organization will also be on hand.
Each of the 17 statewide candidates will be able to assign an observer to the room. Anderson said the ballroom is booked through May 13 in case it takes several days to finish the count.
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The party chairman said with more than 53,000 delegates, the 2021 convention will be the largest ever for Virginia Republicans.