Questions Around Sudden Drop in VA’s Early Vote Tallies

EPEC is receiving a lot of feedback about our Newsletter item Tuesday that raised questions about a drop out of voting data from the Daily Absentee List (DAL) feed, which amounted to a 73% drop in voting data activity from the feed produced by the Virginia Dept. of Elections.

The DAL output files are a record of all early voting activity during the general election in Virginia, including in-person and absentee ballot processing status. As the daily output chart shows, as of Oct. 5th, 2023, the DAL showed 128,301 ballots in Countable status, which means they are on track to be tabulated on Election Day.

As the chart from the daily DAL feed from DigitalPollwatchers.org shows (see below), the Oct. 5th report (the prior day’s voting activity), dropped by 73% from the prior day.

Longtime election observers said the issue might relate to a security patch applied to the VERIS voter registration platform, which might have temporarily blocked the DAL feed.

As of Saturday, Oct. 7th, the tallies were said to be caught back up.

The question from the data side of the operation: Did VERIS tech support just replay the ballot data that had dropped out the prior two days?

EPEC’s data analysts went back to all the categories and checked their total output. Their view is that all the categories match prior output since the drop.

Other changes this year: The rules chart that counties and localities are using to govern how election workers (and SDR Specialists) assess whether a voter is eligible to register to vote in that precinct.

(See the gallery below which elections officers use to assess a voter’s eligibility, the new absentee ballot security feature using the last four of a voter’s Social Security Number, and the drop in data from the DAL.)


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