Extra! Extra! Read All About It! 📰
Hello Virginia Friends, we have a heavy news week with some Election mishaps. We’ve been notified by some followers about possible suspicious election activity including weird text messages. We want to remind folks that if you need any information about the election, our direct resource is the Virginia Department of Elections at ➡️ elections.virginia.gov
We also try our very best to provide the most up to date and accurate information on the elections and more, so feel free to reach out if you have any questions pertaining to the election. We’re happy to help the best we can!
‼️ Voter Data Backlog
On Monday, the Virginia Department of Elections announced the problems it was having processing voter data from the Department of Motor Vehicles were apparently bigger than previously thought.
Over 149,000 backlogged transactions came after an initial batch of 107,000 that local election offices scrambled to process earlier this month.
State election officials said they identified the additional voter transactions, which include new voter registrations and address changes, by “conducting a review after several voters came to vote who had not had their information updated.” The affected people weren’t blocked from voting, the agency said, because registrars updated their information “on-site.”
Election officials have said computer coding issues blocked some records from being transferred to local election offices, which process online voter registration data, over the summer. The state said it’s offering additional staff assistance to local election officials who might lack the people power to clear the last-minute backlogs while prepping for the Nov. 8 midterms.
Some of the unprocessed transactions may be duplicates from the first batch, officials said.
Earlier this month, voters in northern and southwest Virginia received notices directing them to incorrect polling locations. Beals said the department had determined that a mailing of 31,000 voter notices with incorrect polling place locations had gone out to voters in seven towns across Prince William and Fairfax counties.
Any would-be voter who’s uncertain of their status can check their registration info by clicking here or calling the elections department at 804-864-8901.
📵 Election Texts Alert
Voters in five states, including Virginia, received text messages in recent days containing false information about how to vote, but the company that sent them says it was an error.
Some voters in Virginia Beach received text messages from a group called "Voting Futures" directing them where to vote, but the text message directs them to an early voting polling place and not their voting precinct on Election Day.
The City of Virginia Beach posted to social media about the text messages, alerting residents of what it called a “voting scam alert.”.
Messages like this have also been popping up in Kansas, New Jersey, Illinois and North Carolina.
You can visit the Virginia Department of Elections to view your correct polling location.
📝 SAT & ACT Now Optional
The University of Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Norfolk State University are among the dozens of schools in the commonwealth that have changed their policies to relax admissions exams requirements.
The test-optional trend is growing as more than 1,800 accredited, four-year colleges and universities nationally have committed to offering ACT/SAT optional or test-free testing policies for fall 2023 applicants, said Harry Feder, executive director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), which promotes the fair and reasonable assessment of educators, students and school systems.
FairTest has been tracking the trend as the number of test takers declines.
Feder said schools that have instituted test-optional policies are seeing an increase in applications and minority applicants.
According to the American Educational Research Journal, one of the key findings from a study of nearly 100 private institutions is that the policy change was connected to a 10 to 12% increase in enrollment of first-time Black, Latinx and Native students, and a 6 to 8% increase in enrollment of first-time students who were women.
📰 Virginia Headlines
ABC 13 NEWS - Powerball Jackpot now set at $1 billion, Virginia Lottery addresses ticket sale estimates. Still no winner for the Powerball Jackpot, so the total continues to grow. The total has been growing since August and is now set at one billion dollars. This is the second-largest jackpot in Powerball history. Two Virginia Powerball players won $100,00 each after last Wednesday's drawing, but no one has matched all six numbers. Virginia Lottery Spokesperson John Hagerty said they're expecting big numbers when it comes to the number of people purchasing tickets.
NBC Washington - Silver Line Extension to Dulles to Open Nov. 15. The opening of six new stations – Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Washington Dulles International Airport, Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn – completes the 23-mile expansion project that began in 2009, Metro said. The $3 billion extension — also referred to as "Phase 2"— adds another 11.4 miles of track west and northwest from the Wiehle-Reston East station.
The opening of Phase 2 has been pushed back multiple times. It was originally scheduled to open in 2018.
In recent weeks, Metro officials had said they could not open the new line until safety regulators allowed the system's 7000-series railcars to return to use. They had been pulled from service after a derailment.
Regulators approved a plan last week to return enough of the cars to service ahead of Thanksgiving to allow the Silver Line extension to open.
The Washington Metrorail Safety Commission has yet to sign off on the Silver Line extension, Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss reports. The commission said Metro still has work to do on some Silver Line items.
COVID-19 In Virginia:
The Virginia Department of Health reported Tuesday that the statewide total for COVID-19 cases is 2,121,345. The 2,121,345 consists of 1,499,552 confirmed and 621,793 probable cases. There are 22,204 COVID-19 deaths, and Virginia’s 7-day positivity rate is now at 8.9%.
Vaccine Summary: As of Tuesday, November 1
Total Doses Administered: 17,484,470
People Fully Vaccinated: 6,276,180
Percentage of the Population Fully Vaccinated: 73.1%
Booster / Additional Doses Administered: 4,537,804
Average Doses Administered Each Day: 11,738
Note: On October 24, 2022, VDH made changes to streamline some of the COVID-19 dashboards. More information about the changes are in the News Release and on the Website Change Log. For more information on Virginia's vaccination efforts, please visit vaccinate.virginia.gov.
Thanks again and get out to vote, VA!
- María Reynoso, Executive Director