State Board of Elections officials have certified the results of the Nov. 3 election and have for all practical purposes denied Halifax County’s Sheriff’s candidate Chris Hudson’s intentions to contest the election, Halifax County Registrar Heather Harding said Tuesday morning.
Individuals have 30 days following an election to file a petition with the court and file written complaints with their local registrar and the State Board of Elections contesting an election, she explained.
Since 30 days went by without any written complaints being filed, the State Board of Elections has certified the results of the Nov. 3 election.
The registrar said she was notified of the certification on Friday.
“As far as the State Board of Elections is concerned, the election has been certified, and it’s pretty much a done deal,” she added.
Hudson said his attorney has advised him there’s nothing that can be done at this point since the statue of limitations has expired.
According to the registrar, when Hudson came in and verbally complained the day after the election, he should have gotten an attorney and contested the election in writing at that time.
However, she pointed out she is unable to offer legal advice to county voters or candidates.
Hudson, who placed a distant third in the sheriff’s race behind incumbent Sheriff Fred S. Clark and challenger Thomas Logan, announced earlier this month he planned to take the issue to court because of “equipment malfunctions.”
According to Halifax County Registrar Heather Harding, of the county’s 51 voting machines that were tested following the election, 22 would not calibrate.
What that means is the 22 machines are very sensitive, the registrar explained, and if a voter touches within one-eighth of an inch to the top of the name in the middle, it will select the candidate’s name on top.
However, Harding said Tuesday voting machines are allowed to have “one-quarter of inch leeway” in their calibrations.
By challenging the election results, Hudson said he wanted the entire election to be held again to make sure citizens have an opportunity to vote for the candidate of their choice.
He also focused his attention on seeing to it that the county’s aging voting machines are “taken care of” before the presidential election next year.
Hudson said Tuesday his main goal was to bring the matter of malfunctioning voting machines to the attention of county voters and have them replaced before the next election.
He was successful in that endeavor as the Halifax County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 during last Thursday’s strategic planning session to purchase 52 new voting machines using up to $270,000 in capital improvement project funds.
Halifax County Registrar Heather Harding gave a concrete cost of purchasing the new machines at $261,780.
A total of 27 OpenElect Voting Optical (OVO) digital scanners and 25 OpenElect Voting Interface (OVI) scanners will be purchased from Election Services Online, LLC, according to Harding, who explained the OVI scanners are compliant with the ADA for use by voters with disabilities.
One OVO and one OVI machine will be required for each of the county’s 22 precincts, with a number of both types of machines held in reserve.
Election Services Online, one of four vendors vetted by the Halifax County Electoral Board, is allowing the county to make two payments without interest, one upon delivery of the machines, with the final payment due July 1.
Harding said the vendor has agreed to deliver the new voting machines by Feb. 15, in time for the Virginia presidential primary on March 1.