Provisional Ballots Change Totals, But Not Outcomes In Some House Races

Nov 13, 2017

Election officials are still hard at work trying to determine winners in a handful of House of Delegates races that remain too close to call.

Democrats are picking up new votes in tight House of Delegates races across Virginia now that provisional ballots have been added to the vote totals, although the new votes are not enough to change the outcome of any of the elections, at least not yet. Election officials in Stafford postponed their review of provisional ballots until later in the week.

Three House of Delegates races are still razor thin. The Republican candidate in Newport News now has a 10 vote margin of victory. A Republican incumbent in Fairfax County has a 106 vote margin of victory. 

Quentin Kidd, a political analyst at Christopher Newport University, says expect those vote totals to change again when the manual recounts happen. “Don’t forget people voted with paper ballots this time, which means that people marked ballots with ballpoint pens. The machines they are using should have been able to read all kinds of marks on ballots.”

When recounts are simply a matter of moving pieces of paper through a machine, the recount will almost always be the same as the original result. But many of these paper ballots may have names written on them or bubbles that are partially filled. And it will be up to election officials to determine what the intent of the voter was and amend the vote totals in these three House of Delegates races.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.