Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Virginnia Attorney General Update (or: Your daily dose of good government, non-snark edition)

One of the things that has struck me about monitoring the ongoing canvassing and checking surrounding the dead heat in the Virginia Attorney General's election is how professional the whole process has been. The State Board of Elections and county boards have acted with patience, diligence and professionalism. 

Example: The GOP asked for a recanvass in several heavily Democratic Richmond precincts. The local board of elections complied and found a voting machine and several paper ballots that had been left out of the county, which ended up netting about 100 votes for Democrat Chris Herring.  The board then voted unanimously to accept those ballots and update the count -- and the board is majority Republican.

The State Board of Elections issued a clarifying rule to Fairfax County to adjust its handling of provisional ballots in line with state law, saying that voters had to be physically present if they wanted additional testimony on their behalf to be heard for why their provisional ballot The county then extended its deadline for voters to come in and represent themselves.  (Note that provisionals can be accepted without the voter present and often are, contra some bad info going around the Twitterverse)

These sorts of things happen in every election, but usually  the margin is wide enough where finding the occasional extra paper ballot doesn't matter. Here it does. A lot.

That doesn't mean that the U.S elections system couldn't use massive improvements in access and reliability, but this particular election shows that most elections officials strive to be transparent, and scrupulous in how they administer the machinery of democracy.

Herring is now up by 117 votes -- out of 2.2 million cast.

For a run-down, follow the twitter feed of Dave Wasserman (of the Cook Political Report) and Max Smith of WTOP.

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