The Virginia Municipal League awarded the City of Williamsburg with the 2021 Innovation Award in the category of Risk Management for its drive-thru voting system in May and June 2020.
The statewide competition recognizes innovative problem-solving, excellence in management, citizen participation, and improved services to citizens.
Within the span of five weeks the City of Williamsburg’s Voter Registrar organized two drive-thru elections, consolidating the City’s two physical voting locations into a single drive-thru system at the Williamsburg Fire Department. This drive-thru system was used for the City Council election on May 19, 2020, and the Virginia Republican Primary for U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives on June 23, 2020.
This system, in addition to a robust campaign to encourage voters to vote absentee, allowed residents to feel safe as they exercised their right to vote amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic. The City’s two voting precincts were split between the two bays of the fire station; a ballot box was set up for walk-up voters.
To the City’s knowledge, the City of Williamsburg is the only municipality in Virginia to fully replace its in-person voting locations with a drive-thru system.
“We are incredibly honored to receive this recognition from the Virginia Municipal League,” Director of Elections Tina Reitzel said. “It is a testament to the hard work and innovation of the City government and its dedicated employees, who not only designed, prepared, and implemented this drive-thru system, but served as election volunteers.”
VML received nearly 70 entries, from which judges selected one winner in each of the eight categories. One of the category winners will be chosen to receive the President’s Award, which will be announced at VML’s annual conference on Oct. 3.
Read more about the 2021 Innovation Awards on the VML website.