Discovery Of Uncounted Ballots In Lynchburg Sparks Election Controversy

Lynchburg, Virginia, is at the center of an election controversy after the city’s registrar discovered seven uncounted ballots in a drop box three days after the recent Republican primary election. This discovery has raised serious concerns among the candidates and their supporters about potential irregularities in the electoral process.

On Monday, as the closely contested race for Ward IV Lynchburg City Council remained unresolved—with incumbent Vice Mayor Chris Faraldi leading by a narrow margin of 21 votes—the registrar revealed that the ballots were found in the drop box at the registrar’s office. The box had been emptied at 12:50 p.m. the day following the primary to prevent it from overfilling but was not checked again until Friday at 12:15 p.m. It remains unclear whether these ballots were deposited on Election Day or afterward.

According to the registrar, the drop box is monitored by three staff members, none of whom reported seeing any ballots being placed inside. The uncounted ballots have yet to be scanned or tabulated, and the Department of Elections has been notified. An investigation by the registrar and the Electoral Board is currently underway.

Vice Mayor Chris Faraldi expressed his outrage in a Facebook post, accusing the registrar’s office of mishandling the ballots in violation of state law. He claimed that the drop box had been left unlocked and open, and that the ballots were found and processed well past Election Day, which he argues is a clear breach of election protocols.

Faraldi also alleged that the registrar and Electoral Board members were appointed by the local party establishment, who he claims have financially supported and advised his opponent. He indicated that John McGuire’s campaign, which had endorsed him, brought the issue to his attention.

Peter Alexander, Faraldi’s opponent, echoed these concerns in a statement released on Saturday. He highlighted irregularities observed by his campaign during the vote counting process and raised questions about the chain-of-custody for ballots collected from precinct drop boxes. Alexander’s statement noted that an electoral board member had removed drop box bags without proper documentation, leading to further doubts about the integrity of the process.

Alexander also pointed out a potential conflict of interest involving Steven Michael Troxel of Crux Consulting, LLC. Troxel, who is listed as a vendor on Faraldi’s campaign finance report, is also a member of the Lynchburg Electoral Board. Alexander called for a full manual recount and audit of the primary election, urging Faraldi to support this demand to ensure transparency and fairness.

The incident has intensified scrutiny of the election process in Lynchburg, with both candidates seeking to ensure that every vote is accurately counted and that any irregularities are thoroughly investigated. As the investigation continues, the candidates and their supporters await further details to clarify the circumstances surrounding the uncounted ballots.

The unfolding situation underscores the importance of maintaining robust and transparent electoral procedures to uphold public confidence in the democratic process.