What happened in Buckingham? Software glitch causes delays

Published 1:44 pm Wednesday, November 8, 2023

What happened to Buckingham? That was the question asked multiple times Tuesday night, as the county’s numbers didn’t show up on the state site. In fact, by the end of the night, it was the only county in Virginia whose data hadn’t been accepted. 

The reason for that was a connection problem, state officials said, one quickly fixed later on Wednesday morning. Basically, there was an error in the software used to connect with the state, so while the data was sent, it wasn’t being recognized on the other side. The Department of Elections worked with the Buckingham registrar’s office to get that sorted out early Wednesday, with results recognized minutes later. The registrar’s office did not respond to attempts to get comment, so we don’t know if the equipment had been tested prior to Tuesday. 

Unchallenged races in Buckingham

So now that the results are in, who won and who lost? The majority of races had only one candidate, so barring any write-ins, those winners were known long before the end of the night. Kemper Beasley will return for another term as Buckingham’s Commonwealth’s Attorney, while Justin Midkiff will serve another term as Clerk of Court. Residents gave their support to the two men, but Midkiff especially, as he collected 99% of the vote or 3,725 ballots. Those 3,725 ballots made him the highest vote getter in Buckingham, even beating out several names from the state races. 

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With 97% of the vote, Billy Kidd will serve another term as Buckingham County Sheriff. Meanwhile, Stephanie Love will be Commissioner of Revenue with 99% of the ballots going her way and Christy Christian becomes the new Buckingham County Treasurer, with 99%. For the Buckingham County School Board, it was Jeni Spessard winning the District 1 race with 97.8% of the vote. Pam Morris took the District 3 seat with 98% and Theresa Bryant won in District 7 with 92%. William Todd Jamerson had a challenger for the District 2 seat on the school board, but he took 74% of the votes, so absentee ballots wouldn’t be enough to change the result. 

On the Board of Supervisors, not much changes at all. Danny Allan will stay on for District 7, with Joe Chambers winning another term as the District 6 representative. Cameron Gilliam and Dennis Davis will also return to the board. 

Waiting to count ballots

Now several races are in somewhat of a holding pattern right now. Unofficially, yes, there are winners, but each contest was close enough that absentee or provisional ballots could change the end result. For example, in the District 3 race for Board of Supervisors, Michael Palmore currently leads with 389 votes. But incumbent Don Matthews is only 51 behind at 338, with several hundred still left to count. Mail-in absentee ballots can still come in through Friday, as long as they were postmarked by Election Day, so it could be Monday before we have a definite winner in this race or several others. 

The District 4 Board of Supervisors race between Wes Saxon and Paul Garrett was nearly as close. Garrett is winning with 337 votes, but Saxon is just 56 behind, at 281. And for the District 5 seat on the board, so far it’s Harry Bryant with 45% of the vote in the three-way contest. Bryant has 257 votes, with Sherry Ragland, his closest opponent, at 202. In third is Joe Breland, with 100. 

Now on the school board, there are several races where no one can say who’s in the lead, as they’re all write-ins. In each case, nobody filed to run before the deadline, so voters had to pencil in who they wanted for each seat. That includes the seats for Districts 4, 5 and 6.