ALEXANDRIA, VA – Throughout the 45-day absentee voting period of 2016, Alexandria sent ballots by e-mail. This year, as of Oct. 15, 36,336 ballots have been delivered to residents by the U.S. Postal Service. The registrar’s office has exceeded in-person voting numbers from 2016
“I love that idea that people are engaged and they want to make sure their vote is counted,” said Amos, “so I know it’s a lot of work for you and your volunteers, but by golly, it feels good.”
Last night on Z-TV LIVE!’s “The Virginia Amos Show,” Amos welcomed Angela Maniglia-Turner, General Registrar for the City of Alexandria. With Election Day less than three weeks away on Nov. 3, Turner had much to tell Alexandria residents.
All Bases Covered
Amos began the interview by disclosing that her husband volunteers in the elections office. That was how she learned about the absentee voting process and connected with Turner.
“When he came home and told me the actual process that you all were going through to get out the mail in ballots,” Amos said. “The checking and the double-checking and the triple-checking, I was so impressed. I had no idea that the process was actually that rigorous which really made me feel so much better given everything we hear on the news.”
For the duration of the episode, Turner was ready with answers to questions and reassured Amos and viewers that their ballots are in good hands.
“We have a great team and a great staff of volunteers who make this process and make those double, triple checks possible,” Turner said.
Getting Prepared for Absentee Votes
Turner’s office has a staff of six. When it comes to volunteers though, she has a waiting list.
The voting office is currently conducting in-person absentee voting. Oct. 31 is the last day to vote absentee. Satellite offices are set to open at Beatley Library from Oct. 23 to Oct. 31. This will be followed by the opening of the Minnie Howard Campus of T.C. Williams and G.W. Middle School for two Saturdays on Oct. 24 and 31.
Turner said the office’s goal is to make sure that the process is “quick and efficient and safe, given the current climate.”
When asked why her husband has to work a very long day, she explained that the election chiefs and assistants of each precinct are required to stay by law. This is not the case other workers. The Virginia General Assembly is enforcing the law because the possibility of an election officer not showing up for a shift is something they could not risk, given the importance of this election.
Voting Evolves With More Safeguards
After covering the ins and outs of absentee voting, Amos asked the registrar when she had the sense that this year’s elections would lead to a lot of long nights.
Turner responded that the General Assembly made “some changes during their regular session to the processes in which our office goes through. They made some legal changes with the [bill] passage of no- excuse absentee voting on July 1…That definitely gave us a heads-up that things might be changing.”
She also mentioned changes concerning the drop-box option and pre-paid postage
Since Turner joined the office in 2007, there have been a number of technological advancements, including digitization of the poll book, which is how people sign-in at their polling place.
Though the state of Virginia does not require standardized voting machines, all equipment goes through a state certification process.
It All Started with the DMV
How did Turner become involved with elections? When she updated her driver’s license after moving to Virginia to attend George Mason University, she checked “Yes” in the box about being an election worker. From there, she worked for a gubernatorial election and impressed her supervisor despite a misunderstanding over the phone.
“It became one of those [Abbott and Costello] ‘Who’s on First’ kind of conversations.I thought he was calling me about being an election officer. It turned out he was calling about a full-time position they were hiring for prior to the gubernatorial,” Turner said. “It turned out it was a back and forth conversation that I’m glad he didn’t hang up on,” she remarked with a laugh.
A Political Theory and Law major at the time, Turner was studying for her LSATs when she received the job offer that changed her life. She hasn’t considered going to law school.
“We’re glad to have you,” said Amos. “We have enough lawyers. We need good election officials.”
To watch the complete interview, click HERE.