you are probably already familiar with the extraordinary developments over the weekend in Virginia, where the canvassing process has narrowed the margin between Republican Mark Obenshain and Democrat Mark Herring to 17 votes out of 2.2 million cast.
What’s been fascinating to me is how this entire process has taken place under the gaze of hyper-aware election geeks who have in some cases driven the narrative forward – mostly on Twitter
Either way, this race is almost certain to go to a recount; when it does, the record will already be jam-packed with evidence of what happened on and after Election Day.
On behalf of election geeks everywhere, I raise my coffee cup to Virginia. If nothing else, it’s one hell of a story.
Members and employees of the Board of Elections here say the ideal election result is not “Republican won!” or “Democrat won!” it’s “landslide!” because they know they will be national news if there’s a statewide race that comes down to a handful of votes. The truth is one doesn’t know how well the election process in any state will hold up under scrutiny until it’s tested with a race like this one.
* if you want specific numbers on provisionals read this.
** commenter Van has additional info on the provisional ballot rule change controversy:
Yeah, the SBE issued a statement on the rules. Basically what the controversy was about was could voters have a legal representative appear before the board without the voter present to advocate for accepting their provisional ballot. Party representatives are already there and neither the voter or their legal representative needs to be there for a provisional ballot to be accepted( or rejected). In 2012 the legislature amended the rules to allow a voter to bring a legal representative with them, but this did not include allowing the legal representative to appear without the voter. The Fairfax board was reading this differently, but they were overruled by the SBE partly because many localities had already counted their provisional ballots and they felt it would be unfair to change the rules. So this is not a GOP power grab.
lets not forget the rule change that the GOP instituted in Fairfax county when it was apparent that this was going to the provisional votes cast and the idea that the GOP kicked 40k worth of potential voters off the roles a month before the election. How likely is the county GOP to be reprimanded for their shenanigans, why not at all, look who their current AG is and that should tell you everything you need to know as to why this race is important.
My default position is that no election process can hold up under the scrutiny of a race like this. We’ve had few of these, granted, but in super close elections, it’ll almost always be Florida 2000. It depends on what counts as a vote and to a certain extent, who does the counting.
Democracy is all about allowing the vote, but weakening the power of that vote as much as you can get away with.
Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader
Just a reminder that one of those 17 votes was my daughter voting for the first time, and accidentally voting for Obenshain because she thought “he was the doctor.”
From what I’ve been reading on the Twitter, Herring has 2 things that can get him over the hump:
1) Provisionals in Fairfax County – I believe these are being counted tomorrow. It sounds like a ruling came out that clarifies that people do NOT have to show up in person to validate their provisional ballot, which I would think should help us out – we don’t have to go through all the GOTV again to figure out if people remember voting on a provisional ballot. Based on how Fairfax went for Herring, barring a massive throwout of ballots, Herring can probably take the lead here.
2) There’s been talk of a tally sheet in one of Richmond’s precincts that netted Herring an additional 116 votes that is not included in the SBE website. They’re meeting at 1 PM to figure that out, although it was the GOP who requested it…makes me kind of suspicious that they’re going to try and do something fishy. This would help pad the lead to an amount that I don’t think Obenshain would be able to overcome.
As far as I can tell, there’s not really anything else out there. Wasserman’s noted that some precincts seem to have rejected an awful lot of provisional ballots relative to past elections, but I feel like that’s not going to be revisited until the inevitable recount/lawsuits get filed. My gut feeling is that it’s better than 50/50 at this point that Herring will come out of the official count on top (my uneducated, finger-in-the-air guess would be that he will be up between 100-200 votes), and that it will be Obenshain filing for a recount.
@Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:
Oh my. I hope she’s taking this ok. It’s going to be a long process.
What was the rationale for purging so many voters before this election?
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
You know, I’m sudden;y reminded of a local (to me) juvenile court election that was finalized 17 months after election day, and was fought all the way to the 6th Circuit over how to count provisional ballots. Interestingly, the (eventual) losing side opposed the ultimate method counting and kept appealing to avoid it. In that case, it was a 24 vote difference before provisionals were counted.
Though there was not the rule change midstream that VA has used. I expect the litigation to go to the US Court of Appeals in that case as well.
It’s true. Every time I write about an election process in Florida and Ohio I get “what is wrong with these states?”
Ohio and Florida may well be incompetent, but if you live in a state that always has huge margins either way in national elections, you really have no idea how well your state would do.
Since VA is now officially a swing state in national elections, their election process will get a lot more attention.
Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader
@Baud: It’s a good lesson to go into the voting booth prepared.
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):
I’m afraid to read the VA rules on provisional ballots :)
HOWEVER, the Ohio federal case should be helpful if it comes to that.
@MikeJ: the GOP in Fairfax county is/was attempting to subvert existing policy on the counting of provisional ballots by claiming that a lawyer could no longer act as a proxy for the vote to tabulated but instead, if you voted with a provisional ballot that you would have to show up again, in person, to validate your vote and the propriety of that vote. Didn’t ever happen before, now well… you can imagine getting the word out to thousands of voters to show up by a certain deadline to validate their votes.
“I think we can get away with this.”
Why is there this sureness that there wouldn’t be a lot of provisional ballots? Ohio has tons of provisional ballots every election. How is Virginia different?
Up until the last couple of years, the general idea was caution when purging voters. Mostly they waited for them to “drop off” but Republicans have been moving to “clean up” voter rolls (there’s nothing wrong with that in general, as long as you don’t get too nuts and start lopping off valid voters).
I think this was driven by bad reporting, the regular (ridiculous) breathless accounts of “dead people voting”. It goes back to the confusion between registration and voting that we see again and again. If someone submitted a registration for Mickey Mouse that doesn’t mean Mickey Mouse VOTED, yet that’s how it’s reported.
You just have to be really careful and obviously conservatives are really reckless on voting rights, so I wouldn’t want them “cleaning up” voter rolls.
I just learned that VA was concerned about duplicate voting so they joined a consortium of states (about 24 or so) called Crosscheck that is run by the state of Kansas —for free. Huh? What is this? I thought Kansas hated free.
Hoping Kay knows about this consortium.
Davis X. Machina
I’m so old, I remember when it was the Democrats who ‘kept counting and counting until they got a result they liked’.
@Kay: They’ve been pretty low, from what I can tell. Big cities like Arlington and Alexandria had around 100 provisional ballots that were counted, IIRC – to me, that’s an awfully small number. The city of Richmond apparently has 19(!), which seems tiny. Fairfax County, IIRC, has a few hundred they’re going to count. Given it’s the biggest locale left outstanding to count provisionals, I don’t think other areas are going to do much more than move the needle single digits here and there.
Thanks! Do we know who funds the Crosscheck program? It sounds pretty sketchy to me.
@Kay: the other thing, I think, is that a lot of our electoral system depends on one side conceding. Not officially, of course, but in practice. I understand not conceding from both a personal and public position, and in a world with two rational political parties it’s probably better for the system – with the GOP acting the way it is now, that’s out the window.
Part of me wonders if Gore would have waved off the recount battles and conceded if he could have come back in 2004 and won.
I don’t watch much TV, but from my admittedly nonrepresentative viewing, a saw a number of ads for Obenshain, and not one for the Dem. And the Obenshain ads did not so much as hint at his wingnutterific social views, but proclaimed that his focus would be on “jobs.” (How can a state attorney general create jobs?) In other words, it was quite a stealth candidacy.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@Kay: I’m hoping that the 6th Circuit’s decision in Hunter v. Hamilton County BoE will be helpful. Though not binding on the 4th Circuit, of course.
I don’t know anything about it, but that’s also this big area of interest for conservatives, the idea that people are registered in two states, so of course they would make the huge leap from “registered in two states” to “voting in two states” because we seem to be incapable in this country of distinguishing between registration and voting.
When people move they register in the new state. They don’t de-register in their old state. It’s not malicious and it doesn’t mean they are bent on fraud. No one takes their name of the old state’s list. I did it for my daughter here because she was still receiving an absentee ballot and she votes in PA. They had to hunt up the form, it’s requested so infrequently.
@Kay: I recently learned that I’m registered in two counties here. So even when I do vote, my turn out is only 50%.
@EconWatcher: more law suits and prosecutions means more cases for private law firm, means more jobs for attorneys, paralegals, legal secretaries and assistants… And then we can play it out, their kids will need day care, they’ll have to go out for meals, etc etc etc… Jobs for everyone!
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):
Me too. That was a worthwhile fight. You could tell by how Republicans went absolutely ballistic :)
I hate provisional ballots. If we ever have a close presidential election in Ohio provisional ballots will start a war.
@Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:
The Fuckhead family tradition lives on.
I very recently moved from Virginia to Maryland. I am not yet registered to vote in Maryland, and I have done nothing to remove my name from Virginia’s voter rolls. It would have been very, very easy for me to drive out to my old precinct in Loudoun County and vote in this election. I didn’t, because it would have been wrong.
When I am ultimately registered in Maryland, I will still do nothing to remove my name from the Virginia rolls.
@Kay: It also goes unreported that there are people named Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. During the challenges to the Walker recall petitions, we saw lots of “weird” names. The GAB even got a phone call from a Joe Stalin who wanted to make sure that the Board knew he existed.
I doubt it. It used to be fairly common for presidential candidates to lose the general and come back to run again in another election, but these days there seems to be an inevitable stink of loserdom that makes it more or less impossible to do that kind of thing. Nixon was the last candidate to come back and win the nomination after losing a previous general, and he only managed it after sitting out 1964.
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):
The Fourth Circuit used to be the seventh circle of hell, a forum so wingnutty it would make Rush blush. I hope that has changed after these years of Obama appointments.
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):
I rant on this, I know, but provisionals give judges a reason to give voter suppression actions more leeway AND they give voters a false sense of security. if we had not offered provisional ballots after all these ID laws went in, people would have been ACTUALLY turned away, which would have caused them to be extremely pissed off. Instead we gave them a sort of placebo. “Here’s your second class ballot” acts to blunt the effect of the suppression laws, if not in reality then in a voter’s perception. I think we should have gone up or down, first class ballot or no ballot.
Regarding cleaning up the registrations, it would help if they made it easy to remove yourself. I moved from Texas to Maryland, and tried to be a good citizen and find a way to remove myself from the Texas rolls. I found nothing at all that was helpful and just gave up. So if someone wanted to get all breathless about me being registered in two places, they can shut the F right up.
I’d support a national ID system for voting that also tracked voter registrations nationwide. Wouldn’t that be a lot more straightforward?
I have gotten complaints like “I called the board of elections and told them to remove my mother from the list and they didn’t do it”
Really? You want a system where someone simply calls and has someone else removed? I mean, people have to start using their heads about this. You’re not stopping her newspaper. You’re taking her off the list of voters. There’s a process, thank God.
Villago Delenda Est
They would most likely vote for Democrats. Therefore they must be purged.
The fascists aren’t even pretending anymore. They openly say that the purpose of all this is to block people who won’t vote Rethug.
@Kay: My father tried to get my mother’s name removed 14 years ago when she died and was told that they would keep her on the rolls for two elections before they could remove her. He even offered to give them a copy of her death certificate but they weren’t interested. BTW, it was in Illinois.
Maine Republicans did this crazy witch hunt for double-voting students:
The whole thing makes me laugh because anyone who has ever done GOTV re: students knows it is like pulling fucking teeth to get them to vote ONCE, let alone this idea that they’re coordinating double-vote fraud across state lines. You have to drag them across the street to vote. They’re not running home to New Hampshire to vote again. The same is true of the “illegal immigrant” vote. Have conservatives ever spoken to an undocumented person? They’re freaking terrified. They AVOID state recording processes. Understandably.
I typed a few other Disney character names into that search thing. No Scrooge McDuck. But I did find Buzz Lightyear, Gyro Gearloose and Daisy Duck.
ETA: … And 28 Minnie Mouses.
@Villago Delenda Est:
In the end, this is what is going cause them to fail. They can mess around on the margins and paper over their goals with plausible sounding reasons for only so long. Then they overreach or decide to come right out and say what they are thinking.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@Kay: I’m with you on that, Kay. I’d rather see voters turned away so they’d understand – viscerally, if you will – what’s happening. Since we’ve got second class ballots, however, the least we can do is make the BoE count the ones that are provisional because a poll worker told the voter to go to the wrong g*ddamned precinct table. but you know this – I’m just ranting because we spent a metric shit ton of money (I pay taxes in this county) because the GOP couldn’t stand the idea of actually counting votes that were likely to be from the wrong kind of people. And I’ve yet to get over the county GOP chair calling the utlimate winner’s refusal to just give up when the GOP was appealing a US District Court ruling in her favor “un-American.” I will have difficulty being civil should we cross paths.
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):
I knew pollworkers were going to “use discretion” when passing out provisionals and that case showed they do. They were basically handing them out willy nilly, based on, I don’t know, a hunch. TRULY disturbing to read their testimony.
I had pollworkers here tell me “it’s better to be safe than sorry”.
No, it’s not better. How about you just follow every word of that rule? Which is how I ended up sitting by the door, passing out “I voted” stickers. I was tearing my hair out. “READ THE RULE”.
I remember that episode. He also sent students a letter saying that if they don’t register and insure their vehicles in the State of Maine–they would be committing fraud if they voted in Maine.
He also threatened to commit “voter caging” after the 2012 election because he was concerned that “dozens of black people” who were unfamiliar to municipal officials voted in rural towns on election day.
There are so many ‘mercans jettisoning their word of god in desperate pursuit of maintaining their illusions that their lives are perfect and everyone agrees with them — of course they’re going to jettison the constitution and whole pretense of being a democracy in pursuit of same. Nothing matters so much as the feelings of frightened pale people faced with change and difference not to their taste.
that is to say, what part of their shrieks of “damn it, it’s my country / world / religion and I want it back!” aren’t we all getting? They’ll smash everything to prove ownership.
@MomSense: I had many Republican friends when I was in ME ( the Chamber of Commerce types) when did they get so crazy?
It’s a belief, so facts don’t change it. That’s why I don’t think liberals should give an inch. It won’t matter. If we go along with ID, they’ll simply ask for photo ID. They have a new fraud theory every election. Double voting is now fashionable, because they got ID. When they purge on double voting, they’ll be back with something else, because they believe.
I don’t know if you saw it but after 2012 they claimed a county near here, Wood County, had more Obama votes than people. Now, it’s not hard to find the population of a county. Yet this complete bullshit spread like wildfire, until the GOP Bd of Elections member had to come out personally and debunk it. It’s numbers. It’s not up for debate. It didn’t matter.
Palm Beach County, Florida, home of Theresa LePore’s infamous “butterfly ballot” that helped trick elderly (many of them Jewish) voters into voting for Pat Buchanan, also had problems in the 1996 Dole v Clinton race.
Only that one was not close.
I am way interested in what a recount might reveal about Virginia’s local vote counters.
Good to know about this before 2014 and 2016.
CNN: Newspaper: Butterfly Ballot cost Gore White House
(story about Palm Beach Post study of 19,000 ballots)
Bush allegedly “won” Florida by 537 votes, before the Supreme Court intervened.
Give Gore 10% of the overvotes that had to be trashed because of terrible ballot design, and he would have still won.
FYI, in Virginia the election boards have a majority representing the party of the sitting governor, so come January the boards will be 2-1 Democratic again.
@PsiFighter37: Yeah, the SBE issued a statement on the rules. Basically what the controversy was about was could voters have a legal representative appear before the board without the voter present to advocate for accepting their provisional ballot. Party representatives are already there and neither the voter or their legal representative needs to be there for a provisional ballot to be accepted( or rejected). In 2012 the legislature amended the rules to allow a voter to bring a legal representative with them, but this did not include allowing the legal representative to appear without the voter. The Fairfax board was reading this differently, but they were overruled by the SBE partly because many localities had already counted their provisional ballots and they felt it would be unfair to change the rules. So this is not a GOP power grab. Here’s the link:http://electionlawblog.org/?p=56641&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+electionlawblog%2FuqCP+%28Election+Law%29
I don’t know when they got crazy, but I’m betting that a lot of them started acting crazier some time between 11PM EST, Tuesday, November 4, 2008 and Noon EST, Tuesday, January 20, 2009.
Thanks so much. I’ll put it in the FP if you don’t mind.
I think it was right after the 2008 election. Our CD 2 was considered competitive for McCain so the folks up there were bombarded with mailings saying that Obama was going to take their guns. Todd Palin even made trips up here and of course the “pallin’ around with terrorists” and secret Muslim stuff took hold. I used to tell people to go to their town library so the librarian could give them accurate information. Many of them didn’t have internet access so they were hearing it from others. It was pretty wild–and it has just grown from then. We had a militia movement here from the Ruby Ridge/Waco days so it was fertile territory.
@elmo: you would have had to have shown your ID or a current utility bill to vote. You also had to verbally verify your full name and current address in front of the polling person and an observer. By law you are supposed to change your license as soon as you move. So to do what you say you could do would be a crime and would have been in front of at least two witnesses. I voted in VA and know the process.
@Kay: “The whole thing makes me laugh because anyone who has ever done GOTV re: students knows it is like pulling fucking teeth to get them to vote ONCE, let alone this idea that they’re coordinating double-vote fraud across state lines. You have to drag them across the street to vote. ”
However, the first thing every convicted felon, upon leaving prison, wants to know is: ‘Where do I vote?”
Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris know that for a fact.
I’ve told this story here before BUT the Obama ’12 campaign had a now-lawyer, then law-student who was on the ground in FL in Bush v Gore come out to talk to the volunteer lawyers in Ohio. He was working for a congressional campaign, not Gore, but his candidate was (of course) a Floridian and really plugged into how the votes should come out in that county. So the law student is at the bar after the polls closed and the Gore people are drinking and starting to celebrate and he takes this chilling call: “something hinky is going on, they better call Nashville”.
It was just a great story, and it scared the hell out of us, which was of course the intent of bringing him in. We were all like “ooooh! HINKY!” :)
@KG: I was registered to vote in 3 locations in Chicago in the 1980s. As you say, it was just as a result of moving. In addition to the cost of doing the check properly, there’s also the localities’ interest in keeping their official population high – federal and state funding depends on it. (Back then Chicago was fighting to stay the “Second City” but eventually lost out to Los Angeles.) Local officials have lots of non-nefarious reasons for not purging the voter roles aggressively.
No, I never voted 3 times in an election. ;-)
As Kay and others point out, in-person voter fraud is stupid and a minuscule problem. Sure, the voter roles need to be correct, but the voting system needs to have enough voting locations, enough equipment, and enough people serving to give voters confidence in the results. Screaming fraud without doing anything concrete about genuine issues isn’t helpful and the press shouldn’t be enablers of such things.
Yeah, I know, I know, if wishes were horses…
This could all have been avoided with a better Democratic turnout, both to vote and to GOTV. I blame the Purist on the left to some extent. Their constant put-downs of McAuliffe definitely had an effect. Yeah he’s not perfect, but progressives need to get over that kind of thinking. He ran a campaign on progressive issues and put together a good organization, but they had problems with dependability of volunteers. I also think many potential volunteers were burned out from the 2012 campaign. And also some of them may have gone over to work for OFA, which is now lobbying for the presidents agenda.
Sorry just looked it up you have officially 60 days to change your license in MD as a new resident.
Yeah, no shit. Who was that fucking genius who insisted that the campaign only do a partial recount? Innumerate and incompetent.
@Van:The fact that we won the gov race on 40% turnout was pretty stunning.
Because that was all the law allowed them to ask for at the time. Of course they would have preferred a full recount, but there was no provision in Florida law for it.
Cheryl from Maryland
@Shana: Same in Virginia. When my father passed away, we called up the Board of Elections to remove him from the rolls, and we were told there no process except him not voting for several elections.
I think it’s a good safeguard. I’d rather err on the side of the voter. I used to work for the postal service and they’ve been doing names and addresses and address changes and name changes for a very long time and they would occasionally screw up. It takes a certain kind of nitpicky rigor that not everyone has to keep giant ever-changing lists accurate without going too far the other way, and booting people off who should be on. I hate the media stories that come out every election where there’s this puffed up outrage that the lists aren’t clean. They should watch what they wish for. There’s no remedy for the voter who misses an election because their name was removed wrongly. They can’t fix that, as to that election. Ever. One and done, as to THAT election.
@Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: I knew you were to blame for this somehow.
@MikeJ: Yeah, a win is a win. Still it would have been nice to drive a stake through the heart of the VA Teapublicans. Instead it’s like a horror movie where the good guys never quite kill the monster and he keeps coming back and murdering more people :)
@Van: I wouldn’t really contribute too much to the purists. This is more of the “It’s too hard to vote in years not divisible by four” condition that afflicts Democrats.
RE butterfly ballot design: Here’s a January 2001 article by one Bruce Tognazzini, a technology “useability” consultant. “Tog” claims to have been Apple employee #66.
The Butterfly Ballot: Anatomy of a Disaster
Disagree with him on Gore’s winning as a disaster, but Tog goes on to some good points.
Among them that punchcard ballot systems, already recognized as inadequate in 2000 and being replaced, were heavily in use in poorer areas, where people were the least likely to be able to use them. Money, money, money.
@Belafon: I agree, except that it may have cut down on volunteers for GOTV. And a lot of Dems apparently voted for Sarvis over McAuliffe. At least according to the exit polls. When I did canvassing and GOTV, a lot of white voters put McAuliffe down, though they said they would vote for him. Black voters didn’t have that problem I guess because they have a lot more to lose. But Virginia Democrats need to change the equation on off year elections. 2013 was a start. And give the McAuliffe campaign credit, they started with canvassing back in May. Also Terry worked his ass off. I have my criticisms about his past, but he went all out in this to win.
@Elizabelle: I have a book on statistics, and it used the 2000 Florida voting as an example. The picture it showed had the ratio of Buchanan voters in 2000 to Perot voters in 1996 for the counties in the state. The ratio was pretty consistent across the state except for one county, which was wildly out of whack.
Dave Wasserman @Redistrict 1m
BREAKING: #ShockoeSlipUp gives Herring (D) #VAAG lead by 99 votes.>> MT @JoeStGeorge Herring total from 501 is 983. Obenshain total is 181.
Got to catch up on the thread, but:
I voted absentee in person before the election. In Fairfax County we got a paper ballot that was run through a scanner while the voter watched.
Did all Virginia counties vote that way?
I was delighted to see there would be a paper trail this year.
Well, from reading your link, it sounds as though that was the rationalization the Board used. The regulation says…”The key issue is whether a lawyer or representative may be present on the part of the voter at the provisional ballot meeting without the voter being present at the meeting. The initial place to start the analysis is with the Virginia Election Code itself which states that the “voter and their representative or legal counsel” are permitted to be present.”
It doesn’t seem clear to me that this means that BOTH the voter and legal counsel have to be present. In fact, to read it that way, it would seem that the voter couldn’t show up without a lawyer, either. And, simply because no other jurisdiction thought to interpret things this way doesn’t mean it is wrong. It’s just a convenient excuse not to allow Dem lawyers to represent groups of about to be disenfranchised voters.
Just want to note a shout out to our own Redshift, who went door to door this weekend to make sure provisional votes got counted.
The Lord’s work, he did…..and it was freezing out, also too.
For the folks not keeping score at home:
[‘More precincts here, I think.’]
Right. So I still have my VA license because I’m lazy, and it has my old VA address on it. Would have been easy. But also wrong.
We had all paper ballots for the first time here as well. I heard it’s all of Fairfax County, but don’t know about the rest of the state.
I really liked filling in the little circles and feeding it into the scanner. Much more satisfying than that old touch screen.
Ryan Nobles @ryanobles 5m
Another missing machine!! This is in precinct 603! #VAAG
Van: This is a heavily Democratic district. Good news for Herring.
Given what’s happened in Virginia over the last few years, it’s appropriate that the twitter hashtag for this race is #vaag.
That is wild. But this is just the canvass, not the recount. Although I think the general theory is the canvass is the thing, they won’t turn up many votes in the recount.
FWIW, the lawyer who spoke to us about Bush v Gore didn’t blame voters and he didn’t blame Gore and he didn’t blame Nader. He blamed Lieberman. He said Lieberman went off the ranch when he announced he agreed with the Bush people on military votes (which was bullshit) and lost it for Gore right there, because media went like a herd along with Bush and “AL Gore is suppressing the military vote!” which was also bullshit.
Great! Since the Franken-Coleman race I’ve had the impression that the democratic candidate is always favored in these razor-thin races, simply because democratic voters are more likely to be first-time voters and thus overrepresented in the provisional ballots. And of course, democratic demographics are more likely to be the victim of republican voter suppression, and a little national attention helps to overcome their shenanigans.
The republicans must be in panic because they’ll have a tought time winning Florida or Virginia in 2016 with democratic governors.
@Kay: Yes. Recounts rarely change things much. Especially in Va, which for all it’s faults runs a pretty tight ship when it comes to elections. So now Herring has a 99 vote lead, with provisionals from Fairfax, which should favor Herring, to come in tomorrow. Also it’s possible Roanoke city hasn’t released their provisionals. Even though it’s in a red part of the state, has a Democratic edge.
Tog was definitely an early Apple employee. He is an unquestionable (if not uncontroversial) expert on usability. And the expert label is well earned. There’s quite a lot of science behind usability. A reasonable bit of it Tog is responsible for.
Villago Delenda Est
Oh, I’m pretty sure the crazy started to go supercritical right around 11PM EST on 4 November 2008. That’s when the teabaggers discovered the evils of deficit spending, for example.
Dave Wasserman @Redistrict 4m
Richmond 607: Herring (D) nets 9 more votes, Obenshain (R) 3. Herring (D) #VAAG lead up to 106 votes statewide. #ShockoeSlipUp
@Villago Delenda Est: Thank you for using supercritical instead of critical.
Mike in NC
What’s totally bizarre to me is where some media outlets have been pitching Ken Cooch – not even an ex-governor, but a failed candidate – as a possible Republican VP nominee for 2016, paired with Cruz or Santorum. Maybe the media has nothing better to do than endlessly speculate “what if?”.
@Mike in NC: can’t see it, after all, he just failed Conservatism and from recent experience, it doesn’t appear that she’s (Conservatism) is the forgive and forget type.
@Elizabelle: No. Individual jurisdictions determine whether to use electronic voting machines or paper ballots. Fairfax Co. used paper ballots for in person absentee voting. At the polls we “encouraged” voters to use the paper ballots, but there was at least one electronic machine set up for voters who insisted on using the machine.
The reason for this is that several years ago the VA legislature passed a law which prohibits local jurisdictions from purchasing new electronic voting machines. As machines wear out, they aren’t being replaced and eventually we’ll all return to the paper ballots and optical scanners.
@Mike in NC: A Santorum/Cooch ’16 ticket? Various deities don’t love me that much!
Good to hear re Tog. His comments looked credible. I’ll browse his stuff to learn something new, Luddite that I be.
Here’s an index page for him, with resources and links to earlier columns.
Very happy to hear about no new electronic machines. Yippee.
And just in time for our purple, really really a swing state turn in the sun.
@eemom: GOOD FOR REDSHIFT!
@Mike in NC: Santorum/Cooch? A guy who lost his senate seat and a guy who lost a gov race.
On the plus side, one of the first things you think about either of them is “sodomy!”
Dave Wasserman @Redistrict 12m
By my math, Herring (D) has taken #VAAG lead over Obenshain (R) by 115 votes: https://docs.google.com/a/cookpolitical.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AvOrrxBeaarVdGhvNWZZN2UzUVY1bDVoYW83bWszM1E&usp=drive_web#gid=0 … #ShockoeSlipUp
And they’ll also have a tougher time staying in charge without a Republican AG to play the voter suppression game.
@MikeJ: Santorum/Cooch: Taint Gonna Happen.
@Elizabelle: I always chuckle that the usability guy that works primarily as a consultant has an ungodly ugly website. There’s a lesson in there.
@MikeJ: Advised by some half-term sparkle queen VP-candidate, that would be quite the slate of demonstrated competence and purity.
@Mike in NC:
It sure beats doing actual investigative journalism.
ETA: And the Santorum/Cooch ticket would definitely please the panty sniffer brigade.
@Kay: That is wild. But this is just the canvass, not the recount. Although I think the general theory is the canvass is the thing, they won’t turn up many votes in the recount.
They won’t. Not if they’re correcting the mistakes NOW.
BTW, what I heard is that VA does not recount discarded provisionals. (Another words, if the provisionals aren’t taken right off the bat, VA law doesn’t provide for fighting over them in the recount. In the short term, this is OK if Herring is certified the winner. But provisionals are a mess nationwide, and the only good thing about them is that they collect votes that wouldn’t ever appear otherwise.)
(Whereupon I yelled, ‘Wait, WHAT?’)
Cooch, vaginal wands, shutdown – these guys need one of those cozies embroidered with the saying, ‘When you’re in a hole, stop digging’.
And we’re still waiting on Fairfax provisionals.
@Roger Moore: And since we will still have a seriously Republican House of Delegates it will also be hard to pass constructive legislation.
Assuming that Herring wins, both his and Northam’s seats in the Senate will be open. I have heard concerns that it will be difficult to replace Herring with another Democrat. Currently, the state Senate is evenly divided and the Lt. Gov. breaks ties. If we don’t keep those seats, we might end up worse off.
Leesburg is not friendly territory for Democrats.
@MikeJ: Yeah. That’s my point. It’s also one of the reasons I voted for Justin Fairfax (yes, that’s his real name) in the democratic primary for the AG nomination.
@FlipYrWhig: But Ken is full of spunk!
I noticed that, because Ohio does allow that. Fighting. Over each and every ballot.
I’m FOR that :)
I knew you’d be on this, Kay.
Did you see the links to the School Board election that had 800k spent on it, and was taken over by wingnuts?
@Elizabelle: We’ve been moving away from electronic voting to optical scan voting, which is what you voted on. I don’t remember that my precinct even had an electronic machine this time around.
You know I did. I’m obsessed with that :)
BUT deBlasio and Walsh in Boston were wins for “our side” so I’m encouraged.
@Pink Snapdragon: I voted for Fairfax too, just cause I liked him. But I guess it’s time to put on my walking shoes and do more GOTV.
@Kay: I noticed that, because Ohio does allow that. Fighting. Over each and every ballot.
I’m FOR that :)
Personally, I’d prefer nationwide automatic registration combined with address change tracking (because the Post Office is already doing it), 30 or 60 day early *normal* voting (election day isn’t day you go to the polls, election day is the deadline) – inclusive of late night voting (they should be able to keep one machine running all time in any large county) – built-in error correction in canvassing, public audits (like the one today) before certification, and then automatic recounts/audit (meaning ballots should be picked over 4 times before anything goes in the books as final), voting for everyone who is a US citizen, of the right age (which should be say, 15), and not actually IN jail/prison, the nuthouse or old deluded folks home.
I should have a defect rate in the low millions, and no higher than 1 in 100,000 (at the end of the counting).
Additionally, I like optical scan machines, but touchscreens are fine too – but they should print out a ballot one can see, and that ballot should be auditable and duplexed on paper and electronically. (Same with optical scan ballots, actually.)
Do all that and I don’t need provisionals or need to fight over them.
[‘Voting and the counting of ballots should reduce the total amount of idiocy to near zero, even if you can’t make it truly stupid-proof.’]
Too bad Twitter wasn’t around for Bush v Gore. The twitter feeds of several people mentioned above were actually responsible for flagging some of the biggest errors. These guys are combing the output at the precinct level and comparing to past voting results looking for anomalies. They found that a part of Fairfax County was way too low in in the return rate of absentee ballots and, sure enough, there were about 2000 such ballots left out of the count. They also flagged an anomaly in a Richmond precinct which turned out to be due to a voting machine whose numbers had not been added to the final count. All this has put the D up 115 votes over the R and Fairfax County still has 492 provisional ballots of which at least 136 will be declared valid. These guys are really helping our democracy and not being at all partisan about it. Not that the right won’t be whining about how the Ds stole another election should the D eventually prevail.
@FreeAtLast: Yep, the uncounted early votes were in my part of Fairfax; my wife (who voted early) like to think that one of them was hers.
@Pink Snapdragon: Herring’s seat will be a tough special election, but we got him elected initially in a special election, so it’s not terribly unlikely we can do it again. Republicans sometimes have an advantage in special elections for the same reasons they do in off-year elections, but on the other hand, we’ve still got this campaign organization, and we always have a lot more volunteers than they do. We’ll have energized Democratic voters, but whether Republican voters are demoralized by their big losses or out for payback remains to be seen.
One interesting thing is that while many elections are covered and analyzed as if most voters are engaged and informed partisans, in a special election that’s actually somewhat accurate.
@max: Yeah, but to accomplish that, you’d need a supermajority in Congress who actually want people to vote…
Another Holocene Human
@maya: Why can’t felons vote? In the prison? Are they slaves?
@Redshift: Yeah, but to accomplish that, you’d need a supermajority in Congress who actually want people to vote…
You mean a filibuster-proof majority? Well, yeah, unless you exercise the nuclear option. If you mean 2/3rd’s as an amendment – it isn’t needed. All of the above can be done via federal election law, and the states can go along, or they can not get any money, etc. etc.
@Another Holocene Human: Why can’t felons vote? In the prison? Are they slaves?
1) One thing at a time, 2) it isn’t worth the hassle (what would be worth the hassle would be making our imprisonment rate less ridiculous, 3) the idea of the BTK killer voting makes me queasy. (Plus: ‘BTK voted for my opponent!’ blah blah blah)
[‘Much more so than the folks in the nuthouse.’]
93-year-old testifies against Wisconsin voter ID law
by Carrie Healey | November 11, 2013 at 4:38 PM
The civil rights organization Advancement Project filed a federal lawsuit, challenging the sate of Wisconsin’s voter ID law.
Lorene Hutchins was among witnesses who have taken the stand to testify.
“I feel there is a strategy to keep minorities and older people from voting,” the 93-year-old said, according to court transcripts. “Most of us who migrated to Northern states do not have birth certificates, a prerequisite for obtaining the photo ID required to vote. I’ve been voting since the 1940′s when I voted for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It would be devastating to lose the right to vote now, after all these years.”
Hutchins was born at home in Mississippi because hospitals at that time did not accept black patients, and she did not receive a birth certificate.
Katherine Clark, Hutchins’ daughter, spent over $2,000 and several years to obtain birth certificates for both herself and her mother.
@rikyrah: Yep, this the case that Kay front paged last week. They pulled a good judge for this; among other things, he used to a legal aid lawyer so he should have a better idea of than most judges of the hoops that less privileged people need to jump through on a daily basis.