Further to the email I sent them yesterday expressing concern over the accuracy of vote counting in my home county, the Virginia State Board of Elections wrote me back. That in itself makes me feel better, although I’m not totally sure how to feel about the reply. Ahem, as follows:
I am in receipt of your concern as follows:
[quotes the email I sent yesterday]
Based on any election results, they will fluctuate during the canvass process as the electoral board meets to review the results and count any provisional ballots that were cast.
Right on… I think he is saying that State Board procedure permits my county to provisionally estimate numbers during the unofficial results phase. As I imagine it in practice, they are allowed to divide the ballots into Obama and Romney piles, look at the Obama pile and the Romney pile, see that the Romney pile is way bigger, and put in whatever numbers which more or less reflect that judgment.
That’s okay, sort of. I mean, the election was pretty close in Virginia. It could have been less close if my county had actually counted the Obama votes. I know that democracy isn’t exactly a Swiss watch, though. I guess the words “count” and “recount” aren’t meant literally.
Anyway, it is nice to see a concrete example every now and then of how these impressive large-scale efforts really work.
And yes, my county is small enough that they could physically hand-sort the ballots into stacks without them falling over.