A while back I posted about the fact that the official turnout numbers on the VA Dept of Elections (“ELECT”) website we’re incorrect. ELECT’s webpage showed the turnout for the 2020 election was 81.48%, when their own stats on the same page clearly show the results should be 75.08%.
I first published this discrepancy on Aug 13 2021 via twitter (here), and then again on Sep 09 2021 on this blog (as well as twitter) in the first section of my 2020 analysis report (here). ELECT subsequently (and quietly) updated their results page by Sept 10th, but made no public notice as to the error and revision, and never responded to my questions to them as to how the error came about in the first place, why was it still on their official results page for almost a year, and what were they doing to ensure these types of errors didn’t happen again. I subsequently updated my 2020 analysis report to include the silent update of the results by ELECT (here).
In going over and reviewing some of my 2020 work and trying to make sure all of my documentation is complete, I’ve come across another tidbit of interesting information regarding the results on the ELECT site:
There were other silent updates to the official results that predate my finding the wrong turnout numbers.
Using the wayback machine (here), the first record I can find that has the 2020 results is from March 10 2021. Subsequent changes made to the values that can be seen with the wayback machine data are summarized below.
|Wayback Machine Date||Year||Total Registered||Percent Change from Previous Year||Total Voting||Turnout (% Voting of Total Registered)||Voting Absentee (included in Total Voting)|
From the table above there looks to have been a change sometime between April 2nd and April 9th to the number of registered voters, the total number of voters in the 2020 election, the turnout statistic, and the number of voters voting absentee. There also was a change sometime between Sept 8th and Sept 10th to the turnout statistic (presumably in response to my documenting the error and publishing it).
The entry from 2021-03-10 agrees with the official Election 2020 Summary Report dated 2021-01-25. The entry 2021-09-10 agrees with the Election 2020 Summary Report dated 2021-10-01. To their credit, ELECT has at least put a notice on the page for the Election Summary Reports that the report was updated on Oct 1st, but there is no explanation as to the reasoning for the revisions.
I would like to know why was ELECT modifying the results for months after the close of the election? Where did the extra ~73K ballots come from that were added to the results on April 9th? Where did the 81% come from?