Upon returning from a recent vacation, I glanced through the pile of newspapers delivered while I was gone. On the front page of The Roanoke Times’ Virginia section of March 23, the story “Botetourt election officials concerned” caught my eye, especially since it contained the photo of Joel Branscom, who is not an election official! After reading it, I came to the conclusion it was much ado over nothing.

If memory serves me correctly, voting machines were for years left in the schools or churches where we voted in whatever space could be spared and not under lock and key.

I went to the office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney. The two rooms used by the electoral board, and presumably containing the voting machines in question, are double locked. One would have to break in to even get access to them.

What is it our electoral board thinks one could do to a voting machine that would not be discovered as they are brought out for use at election time? Perhaps they would care to enlighten us?

Additionally, getting in to the office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney is difficult. A bell rings when one comes through the door. Employees there see you on their closed circuit security cameras and come out to talk to you through a window. The general public is not allowed past the reception area.

Surely, the electoral board does not think Mr. Branscom or his employees are going to attempt to gain access to these two rooms?

The reason the Registrar gave about why an opinion from the Attorney General was requested seems a little hollow– that such opinion would be helpful if questions were ever raised by the public. If that were ever to happen, which is doubtful, could one not be requested then?

Surely, there is more to this than we have been told. Our electoral board has besmirched the excellent reputation of our Commonwealth’s Attorney for some ulterior reason. Why? What was their real motivation?

I think the electoral board should publicly apologize to Mr. Branscom.

Query: should they resign their positions and let our Board of Supervisors appoint new members who can find something better to do than worry about something so trivial?

I understand the Attorney General has declined to give an opinion. He probably said, “Surely ye jest.”

Bob Patterson