Are you as shocked as everyone else to discover there appear to be an unusually low number of absentee ballots in one of Virginia's most populous Democratic districts? After all, the Attorney General race still hangs in the balance, and 3,000 missing absentee ballots could make the difference.
One oddity was flagged in Fairfax County by the political team of Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.).
The State Board of Election’s site shows absentee ballots cast in each county broken down by congressional district. Fairfax County includes portions of three districts: Connolly’s 11th, Rep, Frank R. Wolf’s (R) 10th and Rep. James P. Moran Jr.’s (D) 8th.
According to state numbers, Fairfax reported an unexplainably lower number of absentee ballots cast in the 8th District than in the other two congressional districts.
The county keeps track of how many voters request absentee ballots as well as the number who actually turn them in. In the 10th District, 88 percent of voters who requested a ballot actually voted, while 86 percent did so in the 11th District.
But in the 8th District, the state board shows that only 50 percent of those who requested ballots — 4,168 out of 8,363 requests — actually cast ballots, a response rate not only lower than the other portions of Fairfax County, but lower than any other congressional district in the state, according to the Connolly campaign.
Oops! BradBlog has more on the discovery:
"The more I look at the data, the totality of the evidence points towards the likelihood that there are [approximately] 3,000 untallied Fairfax Co. votes," tweetedDave Wasserman, political analyst at the Cook Political Report, tonight. He's been going over the state's reported numbers with a fine tooth comb --- and a publicly crowd-sourced Google spreadsheet --- since Election Night."
And if there are indeed [approximately] 3,000 missing Fairfax #VA08 absentee votes, that'd almost certainly be the miracle Herring (D) needs to pull ahead," hecontinued. "What a complete reversal of fortune in #VAAG race in just the last few hours."
"The 2,500-3,000 missing votes happen to be from some of the most Democratic precincts in Fairfax County. Big margin for Herring," tweeted Ben Tribbett tonight, who Wasserman lauded on Twitter. "No one knows Fairfax politics more intimately than" him, he said.
"It appears to me there is solid evidence of missing votes," Tribbet observed, before later adding that he spoke tonight to the Republican election board member Schoeneman "and explained the issue to him." Tribbet added: "Glad to have a Republican on Elec-Board making sure every vote counts."
Yeah, I guess I'm not as excited about having Republicans on election boards, since I'm pretty sure they don't really care whether every vote counts when that vote is cast for a Democrat.
One way or the other, there will be a recount. The only question is whether there will be some "found" votes in heavily Republican districts to outweigh the ones they suddenly discover in Fairfax County.