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"With 1 in 7 voters in Virginia voting in Fairfax, 45,500 would be the approximate number of statewide undervotes to be examined if other counties reported the same rates- which can widely vary by voting system."/

It's worth pointing out that the vast majority of counties in Virginia DON'T use optical scans or other means of Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails. Obviously you acknowledge this caveat, but it really should be reemphasized: in DRE counties, manually recounting undervotes (or recounting any votes, for that matter) is impossible.

I think this is particularly relevant because the counties WITH VVPAT/Optical Scan are typically wealthier or more urban areas, and therefore tend to trend moderate-liberal in their vote patterns. The vast swaths of deep-red Shenandoah, SWVA, and Southside won't provide counterbalance.

Glen Tomkins

KyleGardiner, if you're right about almost all the hand-countable ballots being in blue VA, Herring will almost certainly end up way ahead after a hand count, and the Rs will have one of those equal protection issues to hang a legal contest on.


Glen, here's a map from 2012 detailing the breakdown of voting machines throughout the Commonwealth. You can see the concentration around NOVA, around Hampton Roads, and in Richmond suburbs.

By county, a majority of these are definitely not in "blue VA", but that said the Obenshain localities with paper ballots were only moderately Republican-voting. This contrasts with the democratic areas due for some degree of a recount (Fairfax, Loudon, urban parts of Hampton Roads), which area much higher population and relatively more democratic.

Glen Tomkins

Well, then why is Obenshain going for a recount? While there's no good way to estimate the size of the gain Herring is going to get from rescuing at least some of the undervotes, there doesn't seem to be any plausible way for the extra votes to go any way but pro-Herring. You would have to imagine some differential bias making Obenshain voters mark their ballots in ways the scanners can't read, but humans can, so much more often than Herring voters did this, that they could overcome the 2:1 Herring:Obenshain advantage in the optical scan areas of the Commonwealth.

Herring's present lead is indeed trivial in size compared to the number of votes probably yet uncounted. But those uncounted votes could hardly fail to go his way at much less than the ratio of his overall lead in the optical scan areas. And that ratio is not trivial.

Mark Itzkoff

Glen, Even assuming Obenshain is likely to lose a recount he would ask for the recount to preserve his right to appeal other issues from the election. If he wants to argue that Fairfax improperly extended the time to defend a provisional ballot he needs to show he exhausted all the remedies provided under state law. If he did not ask for the recount it is possible that any appeal would be dismissed without any hearing on the merits.

Glen Tomkins

Mark, Obenshain would have to have some issue he hopes to appeal that would gain him more votes than the recount is likely to lose him. I thought the issue of the Fairfax provisionals doesn't involve enough votes for him to overcome even his current 165 loss margin, much less the hundreds more the recount is going to pile up against him -- unless Kyle Gardiner is completely wrong about the distribution of the optical scanner vote.

Just to make sure I understand what seems to be implied when you talk about Obenshain preserving his right to appeal -- in VA a losing candidate can contest his loss in court? I get the impression from some discussions of this legislative contest, that some people believe that the legislative contest is the only recourse a candidate who doesn't believe the election was conducted properly has after the recount.

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