The EPECTeam Newsletter has launched! You can sign up here to subscribe to the free weekly update on our work as a charitable nonprofit promoting voter participation and education about election systems and technology,

A few snippets from our recent edition:

1. Notes from a Fruitful Meeting w/ Commissioner Beals

Board members of the Electoral Process Education Corp (EPEC) got a chance to sit down with Virginia’s Commissioner of Elections, Susan Beals last week to present some of our analysis into the Commonwealth’s voting databases.

EPEC is grateful to Commissioner Beals (and her legal assistant Ashley Coles), who gave of their time to review our work as a nonprofit charity promoting voter participation and improved understanding of election systems, which included the following:

—We estimate between 30,000-80,000 problematic Registrant Pairs, or “clones”, out of 176,944 candidates’ pairings found that need to be researched and validated, removed or merged to avoid multiple voter IDs being assigned to the same voter. More on EPEC’s detected cloned registration records is here.

5,000 addresses in the official Registered Voter List (RVL) of voters who cast ballots in the VA 2022 general election that were not recognized by the United States Post Office NCOA database as valid occupied addresses. Both primary AND mailing had to fail in order to flag a record.

–Overall, the state’s Early Voting success rate was 90%, based on EPEC’s analysis.  In Person voters showed a 99.4% success rate (6 failed per 1000).

By Mail voters had a 75% success rate (1 in 4 failed).  UOCAVA voters had a 50% success rate (1 in 2 failed). More research on this to follow in the EPECTeam Newsletter.

–We also noted a difference of over 66,000 discrepancies between the Virginia Dept. of Election’s official results and the results on its Website from 2022 General Election. (See our dashboard visualization here.)

Commissioner Beals made a few observations on our findings and how we might communicate some of the more complex details to achieve more clarity.

As a 501 c(3) nonprofit engaged in voter education to promote participation, we remain grateful for the opportunity to discuss the work of some 14-15 volunteers, and potential process improvements.

In the spirit of transparency, EPEC has some follow-up findings on current datasets regarding the Daily Absentee List (DAL), and Monthly Updates (MUS):

* Daily Absentee List (DAL):

The current Daily Absentee List (DAL) shows some 13 records listed in a “countable” state (either FWAB | MARKED | PRE_PROCESSSED | ON MACHINE).

Given that early voting doesn’t start until Sept. 22, 2023, some questions:

  • Could these 13 records marked for counting be considered “special status” ballots that have no deadline?
  • Might these records be leftovers from the special elections that Virginia has already conducted?

All the other records are listed as “issued” or “deleted” ballot status.

By way of background about the DAL:

The DAL file records the transactions of all absentee ballots during the early voting period in VA elections. It includes records for both mail-in and in-person early voting transactions. It does not record the the actual values of the voted ballots, but the “fact-of” a registered voters checking in to an early voting site, or mailing their ballot application or completed ballot to the registrar, etc.

You can read up on EPEC’s DAL analysis from 2022 and earlier here:

* Missing Fields in the Monthly Update (MUS):

EPEC noticed some notable changes to the datasets from the monthly registration changes from the Dept. of Elections.

  • It appears that Dept. of Elections has removed “PROTECTED_VOTER” and “VOTE-IN_PERSON” fields from the monthly status updates

This looks to have happened as of August 1st.

EPEC’s initial take: These changes could impact the ability to validate the legality of addresses of registered voters.

Some follow ups to ask:

1.       Why did the Dept. of Elections suddenly change that header?

2.       Do the registrars receive the info, even if it is denied to the public?

Data science experts will tell you the field is an important filter to avoid obvious false positives when evaluating primary and mailing addresses of registrants, which is a separate issue from “Protected Voters,” who are allowed to mask their information.

EPEC’s take: This change to the registration list published monthly to qualified groups could create more work for registrars who will have to respond to inquiries when bad address records are discovered.

More details to follow in our next edition of EPECTeam Newsletter. Subscribe for updates on this and progress during the 2023 General Election.



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