charleston — State officials say they believe they are no longer losing voter registrations, but they don’t know how many registrations may have been lost when the problem was occurring.
Donald Kersey, general counsel for Secretary of State Mac Warner’s office, has said dozens of people reported during the 2018 election that they thought they had registered at local DMVs, but the Secretary of State’s Office had received no record of their registration.
He noted that some people voted with a provisional ballot, but some may have simply left the polling stations upon being told they weren’t registered. So state officials don’t know how many people may have been affected.
During the legislative session, DMV Deputy Commissioner Linda Ellis told lawmakers that the DMV was dealing with an old server, called a mainframe.
Officials at the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles say they believe a programming change fixed the problem in January.
Adam Holley, acting DMV commissioner, said, in an email last week, that state officials had since completed two rounds of testing that found no problems.
“I am satisfied that the prior issue was fixed but efforts to verify the successful transmission of voter registration information will continue as a routine part of the process,” he said. “We don’t know how many people were impacted last fall but believe the number was limited based upon the instances that were brought to our attention and corrected.”
Kersey had said that 37 records appeared to have been lost during a test period later in January. He said they later realized that DMV and its vendor, Gemalto, were comparing different time periods.
Meanwhile, other people, he said, began the process of attempting to register but didn’t complete the process.
A third batch of people, meanwhile, did go through the whole process, but their records were not received by the secretary of state.
Kersey said he, too, believes the problem is fixed, although he is waiting for the DMV to send final confirmation from Gemalto, whose programmer has been experiencing health issues. Kersey said he’s received emails from the DMV letting him know the problem is fixed, but still wants to see a final report, which he described as “proof,” and an explanation of how the problem was fixed.
“I don’t have a glowing report just because I haven’t seen it yet, but they seem pretty confident in it,” Kersey said, in an interview. “We trust them, but we always want to be able to verify it.”
He also said he is still waiting for the DMV to send a list of the people affected while the problem was still occurring, but they’ve said they are waiting for that list from the vendor.
Kersey had previously said the problem may be resolved at the end of the year after the DMV contracts with a new vendor, IDEMIA, who should have a new system running by November.
Noting that municipal elections are June 4 and June 11, Kersey recommended people check their voter registrations at govotewv.com. He noted that if the problem were to occur again, those people would still be entitled to vote by provisional ballot. They would then need to contact county clerks or the Secretary of State’s Office to ensure their votes are counted, he said.
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