Lynchburg city councilor wins GOP primary after drop box concerns delay results

The election results were delayed because seven absentee ballots were found in a ballot drop box three days after the primary election ended.

Published: June 25, 2024 1:59pm

Lynchburg Vice Mayor Chris Faraldi won the Republican primary election for Ward IV Lynchburg City Council after election irregularities were discovered.

Faraldi, who first raised concerns about election irregularities on Friday, won by 33 votes on Monday, nearly a week after the primary, Cardinal News reported.

In a statement on Monday, Faraldi said, “[t]o once again be the Republican Nominee from Ward IV, it is a profound honor. Come November, we will secure another four years on city council. The voters want and deserve a representative who delivers real results & conservative leadership in city hall. And that’s exactly who I am, will always be, and will continue to do.”

The election results were delayed as the Lynchburg Electoral Board waited on guidance from the Virginia Board of Elections regarding seven absentee ballots found in a ballot drop box three days after the primary election ended.

The register confirmed that the ballot drop box in the registrar's office was emptied at 12:50 p.m. on Tuesday to prevent overfill and wasn't checked again until Friday at 12:15 p.m. It further stated that election staff saw voters place ballots in the drop box throughout Election Day but didn't see any ballots dropped off after 7 p.m. last Tuesday.

Ballot counting stopped Friday after both Faraldi and his Republican opponent, Peter Alexander, noted issues with drop box ballots, but the counting resumed on Monday at 10 a.m.

The registrar said that the ballot envelopes from the drop box confirmed the voters' identities and their eligibility for voting absentee. The ballots were mixed in with other absentee ballots, which Faraldi said on Friday "is not unlike mixing sand in a bottle — it is impossible to undo."

Alexander had called for a recount and audit of the election on Saturday, but Virginia law only allows for recounts when a difference of less than 1% between two candidates' vote totals exists. Faraldi won by 1.6% of the vote.

In November, Faraldi will run in the general election against Democrat April Watson and Independent Michelle Harvey, according to WDBJ7.

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