For Those Who Serve, and Vote in Elections

From EPEC Team Newsletter:

EPEC salutes the volunteers, donors, trainers, and elections managers who served the Commonwealth in the 2023 General Election. And to those who promote voter participation.

By EPEC Voter News Staff:

Nov 23, 2023

As we think about all the blessings for which each of us is thankful on Thanksgiving, EPEC Team would like to offer thanks to the many people who work on elections in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the nation for that matter.

They include registrars managing voter lists, Elections Officers running precincts during Early Voting and Game Day, enterprise technology officials making sure the machines are counting properly, and volunteers who are critical to observing a fair and accurate count.

We salute you, and offer special thanks to the hundreds of thousands whose volunteer work is critical to transparent elections. A special hat tip is in order for volunteers and elections officials across the state for their time and expertise given to training the public to take part in elections, and elections management.

We are also grateful to our donors for their generous contributions to EPEC’s mission of voter participation and education, and its unique focus on tech. Thank you!

With that in mind, EPEC Team is sharing a few data points as we await the official election results in Virginia’s 2023 General Election, which resulted in a Democrat majority in both of Virginia’s House of Delegates, and Senate.

Based on the unofficial numbers, our estimate is that between 2.4 million and 2.6 million Virginia citizens out of about 6 million registered voters cast a ballot in the 2023 General Election. That would be less than half of eligible voters — more in some regions, less than others, who decided the majority in the Virginia Assembly and many county/locality races.

When we sort through the unofficial tallies as they have been posted to the website of the Department of Elections, we can see how close the counts were for candidates.

How close? See the image below of the House of Delegates race that shows Republican candidates receiving some 16,000 fewer votes than Democrat candidates. Democrats appeared to win the House by a 51-49 margin.

In every category of balloting, the turnout numbers show a close election — except for the mailed absentee tally (shown in green above and below).

As the chart shows, Democrat candidates received 160,946 mail-in ballots compared to Republican candidates who received 71,451 mail-in ballots in early counts.

The same trends and a similar ratio can be seen in the races for Virginia Assembly Senate, in which Democrat candidates received 35,648 more ballots than Republican candidates for Virginia Senate to hold the upper chamber, 21-19.

The same trends in the House of Delegates races are true for many Senate races: competitive on all types of balloting — except for mailed absentee. Democrat Senate candidates received 167,230 ballots to 71,908 ballots for Republican Senate candidates.

We will have a better idea in January when the Dept. of Elections publishes an official list of who voted and by which method.

As to why we have to wait until January before the official list of who voted in the election is published, we at EPEC think that is a question worth pursuing.

After all, the Dept. of Elections releases a list of who cast ballots during Early Voting (in-person and by mail) via the Daily Absentee List (DAL) to qualified groups. EPEC published summary results daily here.

The DAL is considered unofficial until the election has been certified. So why aren’t the Election Day results also available with the same caveat?

As we pause for Thanksgiving observations, we offer this as food for thought.

EPEC’s full report on our findings this election season, especially the consistently lower participation rate for military absentee ballots, is in the works.

But for now, on behalf of the volunteers at Electoral Process Education Corp. (EPEC.info), and with a special thanks to the technology leadership of Executive Director Jon Lareau, board members Rick Naigle, and Ken Lubeck, we at EPEC Team wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. #

Editor’s Note: This post was updated to include summaries of Virginia Senate races as well as Virginia House of Delegates races using unofficial data from Dept. of elections website as of Nov. 22, 2023.

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