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Leading Off:

VA-AG: With a now-official lead of 164 votes following a Tuesday deadline for localities to canvass their results and submit them to the State Board of Elections, Democrat Mark Herring declared victory over Republican Mark Obenshain in the Virginia attorney general's race. (Obenshain, of course, did not concede.) The board now has until Nov. 25 to certify the results, after which the trailing candidate will have the opportunity to request a recount, assuming the margin remains within 1 percent (which it assuredly will).

As Rick Hasen says, Obenshain would be "crazy" not to pursue a recount should he remain behind, and he thinks that Republicans may be trying to lay the groundwork for an equal protection argument under Bush v. Gore regarding the uniformity of ballot counting. It could be a while before we get that far, though. In a similarly close AG race in 2005, the recount didn't begin until Dec. 20, though it only took three days to complete. (This year's could take longer, as a new law requires a more extensive manual review of ballots.)

That earlier recount, though, only altered the net margin by 37 votes (in favor of the eventual winner, Republican Bob McDonnell, who prevailed by 360 votes), so Obenshain would need a bigger shift than that to change the outcome. But such a shift could happen on Nov. 25, as Obenshain noted at a Wednesday press conference that the state board's review that year "resulted in a 123-vote net change." Add those two figures together and you get 160 votes—yow, that's tight.

Senate:

AR-Sen: Dem Sen. Mark Pryor is hoping to steer the conversation away from Obamacare with a new ad attacking GOP Rep. Tom Cotton for supporting cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Will it work, in this environment? Maybe if the exchanges start working soon and if Congress finds a way to deal with the cancellation of insurance plans. If not, though, I think Pryor will be hard-pressed to make the race about entitlements rather than Obamacare.

ME-Sen: Bleh.

NE-Sen: Aaron Blake has a good piece demonstrating that the chief exponent of conservative purity, the Club for Growth, doesn't always pick candidates who are especially pure. The latest example is Midland University President Ben Sasse, who just earned the Club's endorsement but was a major supporter of Medicare's Part D prescription drug coverage expansion a decade ago. The Club, as Blake points out, called the law "an abomination."

But now Sasse claims he opposes Part D, and the Club seems content that he'll be their paisan going forward. However, as we noted the other day, FreedomWorks just got behind former state Treasurer Shane Osborn, so perhaps Sasse's apostasies were too much for them.

WY-Sen: Good times: Sen. Mike Enzi is trotting out an internal poll from the Wickers Group showing him with a soul-crushing 69-17 lead over Liz Cheney in the GOP primary—and that's apparently up from a 61-21 Enzi advantage in previously unreleased August survey. But Cheney's campaign was quick to point out that the same firm (then known as Dresner Wickers Barber Sanders) released an utterly off-base poll of the Texas Senate GOP primary in 2012 that showed David Dewhurst beating Ted Cruz 51-16; Dewhurst prevailed 45-34 in the first round, only to lose the runoff 57-43.

Gubernatorial:

GA-Gov: Last month, local analyst Jim Galloway reported that Democrats had conducted a poll to try to lure state Sen. Jason Carter into the race against Gov. Nathan Deal, a move that ultimately worked. Now someone has shared that poll, conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove for the DGA and the Georgia Democratic Party, with Politico, and it shows Deal with a relatively soft 44-36 edge on Carter. That's still a long road to 50 for the challenger, but as you know, 44 isn't a great place for an incumbent to be. PPP also found Deal in the same spot in a survey taken around the same time as ALG's, where he led 44-40.

IL-Gov: We've already mentioned Paul Vallas, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn's bizarre replacement choice as his running-mate for lieutenant governor. Vallas is an education "reformer" whose selection has infuriated teachers unions and the black political establishment alike. But really, you should listen to Vallas in his own words. From an interview just four years ago:

VALLAS: "I would take a Republican primary ballot."

BERKOWITZ: "Do you think of yourself as a Republican?"

VALLAS: "I'm more of a Republican than a Democrat."

BERKOWITZ: "If you run again for office you'd be running as a Republican?"

VALLAS: "I would, yes, yes."

And this guy actually ran for governor as a Democrat in 2002, believe it or not.

House:

FL-13: Safety Harbor Mayor Joe Ayoub has decided not to run in the special election to replace the late Rep. Bill Young, but he also made sure to diss the sole GOP candidate in the race, David Jolly, saying: "I don't think it makes sense to send a lobbyist to Washington to fix things." Ayoub instead wants state Rep. Kathleen Peters to run for the GOP and says he thinks she will, but she hasn't announced her plans yet.

LA-05: In Saturday's special election runoff to replace ex-Rep. Rodney Alexander, you have two Republicans running: One is state Sen. Neil Riser, the overwhelming establishment choice; the other is Vance McAllister, who fits the mold of semi-anonymous self-funding businessman—and in a race like this, you'd expect him to be the outsider tea party type. But McAllister is actually running well to Riser's left on Obamacare, saying he favors Medicaid expansion and a ban on insurers denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

Of course, McAllister claims he still supports repealing the Affordable Care Act (just as Riser does), but there may actually be a method to this seeming madness. As Politico's Alex Isenstadt notes, members of all parties can vote in the runoff, so even though the 5th is a heavily Republican district, McAllister is probably hoping to reach out to Democrats with his softer stance on healthcare reform. It's definitely a longshot strategy, but it makes sense for McAllister to take a risk, since Riser won the first round of voting by a fairly wide 32-18 margin.

McAllister's also getting a little bit of help from "Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson, who cut a last-minute ad in which he exhorts voters to come out for McAllister. (Robertson, you may recall, was briefly courted to run here himself.)

Other Races:

NJ State Assembly: Some positive developments for Democrats in the ongoing vote count in New Jersey. In the super-tight race in the 38th Assembly District, incumbent Dem Tim Eustace has taken the lead from Republican challenger Joseph Scarpa, just as Democrats predicted. At the moment, Eustace is up 49 votes, but Scarpa says he'll "most likely" seek a recount.

Meanwhile, in the 2nd Assembly District, Republican incumbent John Amodeo's lead over Democratic challenger Vincent Mazzeo was cut to just 74 votes, from 379 on election night. Mazzeo still has a shot at overtaking Amodeo because some heavily Democratic areas were yet to be recanvassed. (That was set for Wednesday.) If Democrats manage a victory here, that would offset the lone GOP pickup in the 1st District, where Assemblyman Nelson Albano (who had some serious personal issues) was narrowly defeated.

PA State Senate: The Democratic climb to retake the Pennsylvania state Senate (currently GOP controlled, 27-23) just got a lot steeper, though in an expected way: Democratic state Sen. Jim Ferlo is retiring next year. That will likely lead to a GOP pickup, in a convoluted way, thanks to how the state's population mass has shifted east over the last decade.

The strongly liberal Ferlo, who previously represented the northern part of Pittsburgh, got mashed together in redistricting with Republican state Sen. Randy Vulakovich in a more suburban version of SD-38 that went for Mitt Romney by 6 percent in 2012. Meanwhile, a whole new seat centered in Monroe County in the state's rural northeast popped up, and is likely to go to GOP state Rep. Mario Scavello.

If you're wondering about the bigger picture in the Senate, PoliticsPA has a helpful overview. The loss of Ferlo might be counterbalanced by a possible pickup in a GOP-held seat in Dem-leaning Delaware County, opened up by Ted Erickson's retirement. Even if the party poaches Erickson's seat, though, it still means that Democrats would need two more pickups to take charge of the chamber (if they control the lieutenant governor's post, too, after 2014). There are three more possibilities in the SE PA suburbs, but also a tough defense for state Sen. Rich Kasunic in SW PA's Fayette County. (David Jarman)

Tulsa Mayor: Tuesday's non-partisan general election in Oklahoma's second-largest city pitted Republican incumbent Dewy Bartlett against Democrat Kathy Taylor, Tulsa's previous mayor and the state's former Secretary of Commerce. The race between the two former friends turned bitter especially at the end. Ultimately the Republicans came out on top, with Bartlett winning reelection 55-45 percent. (Jeff Singer)

Grab Bag:

North Carolina: Just to reinforce how tough that new PPP poll is for Dem Sen. Kay Hagan, here's an additional data point: The Democrats' lead on the generic legislative ballot has shrunk from 51-42 back in July to just 45-43 now.

Site News: It's a small upgrade, but a useful one. If you ever peruse or share the Morning Digest on the web, you can now link directly to individual stories by clicking on the orange bullet before each item. So, for instance, if you wanted to point someone right to our recent entry on VA-Gov cartograms, now you can do so.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Virginia Kos and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm in the awkward position of rooting for Pryor (17+ / 0-)

    Well, given the choice it ain't so bad. Cotton is a turd.

    I have many friends in Arkansas. I'll sent Mark Pryor some money just to do my part.

    Roman Catholic by birth---thoroughly confused by life.

    by alasmoses on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 05:12:13 AM PST

  •  Good for Herring & VA (4+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 05:43:04 AM PST

  •  Does anyone think Cucinelli ordered the rule (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    change for counting in Fairfax County midstream so that he could set Obenshain up for an equal protection clause suit later on in the event that Herring won?

    Was it a set-up, in other words?

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 06:03:48 AM PST

    •  no it was the local board (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mstep

      Not sure how far he will take this. Obershain is set up to run for governor next time and if he goes to court and whines about this it will hurt him.
      Assuming a democrat gets elected in 2016 as president the republicans should have a good shot at winning back the governors office,

      •  depends. (0+ / 0-)

        VA is turning blue fast.

      •  According to Rachel Maddow last night, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ichibon

        Cucinelli was the one who directed the local board to make that ruling in the middle of vote counting.

        That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

        by concernedamerican on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 06:53:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  rewind (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          concernedamerican

          This wasn't a change for counting, per se. It was a change in whether voters could send representatives in their stead during the board meeting -- and apparently, from the SBE's perspective, not a change at all, since it had never approved any other procedure.

          SBE said that it acted on its own initiative, but in accordance with legal guidance from "a career Senior Assistant Attorney General, counsel to the Board" -- not a directive from the Cooch.

          It's unlikely that this procedural change had any effect on which votes were counted: being represented at the meeting is neither necessary nor sufficient. At any rate, making the change actually prevented a possible equal protection objection. The GOP's gripe in Fairfax now is that the board unanimously voted against them (in almost every case) about which ballots to count.

          "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

          by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 07:03:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Rachel Maddow on last night's show (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ichibon

        indicated that the local BOE had received a letter from Cuccinelli (in his official capacity as AG) asking them to intervene and institute this ex post facto change. If so, this needs to be investigated.  Clearly a conflict of interest.

        MI-8, 71, married, 7 children, 16 grandchildren, retired, independent but progressive

        by jimmich on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 06:58:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  it's a matter of record (0+ / 0-)

          that the county received a memo from the State Board of Elections.

          It's not impossible that Cuccinelli sent a letter too, but I'm skeptical. Why would he even bother?

          "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

          by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 07:22:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Bush vs. Gore and VA AG (9+ / 0-)
    As Rick Hasen says, Obenshain would be "crazy" not to pursue a recount should he remain behind, and he thinks that Republicans may be trying to lay the groundwork for an equal protection argument under Bush v. Gore regarding the uniformity of ballot counting.
    Didn't the SCOTUS say in that ruling that it applied ONLY to that case and should not be applied to any future case?  I'm not a lawyer and don't even play one on TV but I seem to recall that aspect of Bush vs. Gore.

    “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

    by RoIn on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 06:06:03 AM PST

    •  Bush v Gore is the chehsire cat precedent (6+ / 0-)

      ...it's here when it's convenient to the GOP to have it looming in the legal background, it's not when it's inconvenient to the GOP for it to be around.  In other words, useful to be cited as a principle rather than a precedent...kind of like one of Groucho Marx's famous principles which he fimrly had, and if you don't like them...well, he has others.

    •  I was thinking the same thing. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RoIn, biloxiblues, Stude Dude, bear83, ichibon

      Yup.  As I remember they said the case couldn't be cited outside the bounds of that one ruling.  Probably because the ruling was so horrible they felt embarrassed and wanted to keep it in a box...or wanted to prevent Democrats from using it one day to their advantage.

      -

    •  it's moot, I think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      Bush v. Gore pointedly declined to state a rule for how equal protection applies to election procedures. It didn't create the idea that equal protection could apply to election procedures. And if Bush v. Gore were a precedent, it's not obvious how it would apply to the facts of this case -- although, of course, there isn't even a case yet.

      Obenshain could have an "equal protection" or "uniformity" case in both state and federal courts. But, absent new facts, he isn't likely to have a good one. Think Norm Coleman in 2008, or actually, 2009. (Coleman didn't even try the federal courts.)

      "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

      by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 06:39:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I should... (0+ / 0-)

      have read your post first...I just asked the same thing downdiary...

      "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

      by JackND on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 06:44:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If nothing else ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HudsonValleyMark, nextstep, VClib

      Bush v Gore stands for the proposition that ballots in the same election should be counted the same way.  From the per curiam decision:

      The recount process, in its features here described, is inconsistent with the minimum procedures necessary to protect the fundamental right of each voter in the special instance of a statewide recount under the authority of a single state judicial officer. Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities.

       The question before the Court is not whether local entities, in the exercise of their expertise, may develop different systems for implementing elections. Instead, we are presented with a situation where a state court with the power to assure uniformity has ordered a statewide recount with minimal procedural safeguards. When a court orders a statewide remedy, there must be at least some assurance that the rudimentary requirements of equal treatment and fundamental fairness are satisfied.

      •  and perhaps that answers my question above (0+ / 0-)

        If the recount court adopts recount standards that don't meet "rudimentary requirements of equal treatment and fundamental fairness," that would be an analogue to Bush v. Gore.

        I venture that that is vanishingly unlikely, but we can wait and see.

        Whether there could be other plausible equal protection grounds, dunno. In principle, absolutely.

        This wording is bugging me a bit:

        Bush v Gore stands for the proposition that ballots in the same election should be counted the same way.
        The court talked about voters, not about ballots, and I'm not sure that distinction is inconsequential. (Voters voted on really different kinds of ballots.) A side issue here, I assume.

        "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

        by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 07:48:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  North Carolina (9+ / 0-)
    North Carolina: Just to reinforce how tough that new PPP poll is for Dem Sen. Kay Hagan, here's an additional data point: The Democrats' lead on the generic legislative ballot has shrunk from 51-42 back in July to just 45-43 now.
    A big part of that is that the legislature has not been in session for two or three months and won't reconvene until May 2014 so they aren't in the spotlight right now.  When they go back into session six months from now North Carolinians will get a quick reminder of what made them so mad for the first half of 2013.

    “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

    by RoIn on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 06:09:41 AM PST

    •  That was my thought exactly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RoIn

      Voters have a short term memory and they've forgotten - or blocked out - all the crap the legislature passed last spring/summer.

      Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

      by bear83 on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 06:47:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They've Also Been Distracted (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bear83, Aquarius40, demreplib33

        The government shutdown, all the Repug drama queen antics about Obamacare, etc. has shifted their attention to Washington as well.  No news out of Raleigh.  Lots of news out of DC.

        This same polls also shows a modest uptick for McCrory.  He's still 12 points under water -- 39/51 -- and the uptick of 4 points is within the MOE suggestion people may not be forgetting exactly but that there is less a sense of urgency now that focus is elsewhere.

        “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

        by RoIn on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 08:21:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  People Losing Their Insurance Will Be A Non (9+ / 0-)

    story in 2014.  By then most people who say they lost their insurance will have new insurance and probable better insurance.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 06:11:47 AM PST

    •  The stories about people losing insurance (7+ / 0-)

      will be swamped by people who have it for the first time in a long time or people who saved a ton of money thanks to the ACA.

      It's all theatre.  Angry tea bagging nutsacks being angry about a website for a program they don't want to work to being with not working.  Whiny hand wringing liberals afraid of angry tea bagging nutsacks being angry.  I never saw so many abusive assholes and fraidy cats suffering from bettered wives syndrome.  

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 06:18:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's Quite a Shift (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        merrywidow, bear83, patbahn

        Repugs have gone from Obamacare going to result in the downfall of western civilization to whining about a slow website.  I mean, really now?

        I hope that Sen. Landrieu's bill gets lots of attention.  It will force Repugs to either vote for it to save the health care insurance for people Repugs claim to want to save and thus voting FOR Obamacare or voting against saving people's health care to pander to the obsession some have with all things Obama.

        It is time for Repugs to put up or shut up.

        “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

        by RoIn on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 06:24:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They won't vote for it (0+ / 0-)

          They bitch and moan about everything and anything.  But when it's time to do something about it they find every fucking excuse in the book and a hew not written yet on why they shouldn't.  

          This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

          by DisNoir36 on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 07:00:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Those Stories Will All Be Swamped...... (0+ / 0-)

        ....by massive premium increases for everyone if only sick people sign up for the exchanges and healthy young people do not.  The success of this law revolves around young people choose to purchase insurance, and given that the "penalty" for not doing so seems entirely unenforceable, I'm incredibly skeptical that will happen.

    •  The budget fight (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, Aquarius40

      The Obamacare problems have obscured the budget fight issue, but the budget fight will be coming back onto the news, very soon in a big way, and that won't be good for Republicans. They'll be advocating deep cuts for SS and Medicare, and no new revenue, even from closing loopholes for tax breaks on oil companies, etc.

      Heck, they probably won't be able to resist closing down the Federal gov't again...

      You will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger.

      by mstep on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 06:44:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't forget swapping cuts to the Pentagon (0+ / 0-)

        for cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. It's not a winning position for the TeaOP, but they own it.

        Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

        by bear83 on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 06:49:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'd like to see this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RoIn, DocGonzo

    "An equal protection argument under Bush v. Gore regarding the uniformity of ballot counting" will stick the federal courts with the Supreme Court's strange and lawless pronouncement that Bush v. Gore was never to be used as precedent.

  •  Scott Walker's book... he will give Christie (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83

    a challenger, Walker is not going to let Christie just glide to the nomination...this should be fun as they beat up on each others records it their states....

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 06:42:29 AM PST

  •  No matter what (5+ / 0-)

    I'd rather be up by 164 votes going into a recount than down. Since it took them a week to get everything to this point, I would think the carcass has been picked over and there won't be much of a change (absent shenanigans, and while that's not inconceivable, I think it highly unlikely). Remember most of the votes are electronic and aren't going to change. The GOP poured most of their money into this race and really made a desperate play but I don't know how far they will pursue it. Contests are pretty rare in VA elections, I can attest to that.

    •  point/counterpoint (0+ / 0-)

      Obenshain's retort would be: no, in 2005, there was a triple-digit net change from the locally certified results to the state-certified results. So, a week isn't enough.

      Assuming that is true, my surrebuttal would be that people all over the country have gone over these results, more carefully than I imagine happened in 2005.

      I look forward to taking a really close look at the amended results myself, but like you, I'm not expecting much change in the state canvass period.

      "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

      by HudsonValleyMark on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 06:53:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  didn't the SCOTUS (0+ / 0-)

    ruling on Bush v. Gore indicate something to the effect that it shouldn't be used as precedent for any other case that may follow?

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 06:43:55 AM PST

  •  The voters have spoken, the bastards. (0+ / 0-)

    Wasn't that stevenson?

  •  Previous VA recount was 123 new votes . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HudsonValleyMark, IM, stevenaxelrod

    the net difference between the new votes added was +37 to McDonnell's total.

    In order to pick up 164 votes, Obenshain is going to need to find more than 200 -- in very GOP friendly areas -- and assume that Herring doesn't pick-up others in Dem areas.

    With the data analysis that was done post-election to uncover votes for both candidates based on undercounts, and a few overcounts due to tabulation errors, I suspect most of the low hanging fruit -- the big vote caches -- have probably been uncovered.  At this stage we are probably looking at very minor shifts and those shifts are likely to add votes to both candidates only on the margins and close to equally.

    •  True...one thing to remember democratic vote (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordMike, stevenaxelrod

      Rich northern jurisdictions have transitioned to optical scan paper ballots, where other jurisdictions that are heavily republican still vote on touch screen...

      Recount, the areas where the rep would need to pick up votes have no way to view the intent of the voter...only compare the machine tallies one more time, which has been already viewed with a fine tooth comb during the local canvas...

      In NOVA, the recount can view the actual ballots and see if any where rejected from tabulation due to bad fill in the bubble stuff... So with sheer raw % those catches or ballots would go in the dems favor...

      On equal protection issue it is around the fact that fairfax county extended the amount of time for provisionals to secure their vote... Again there is no directive from the state BoE on that timeline and is up to each individual jurisdiction to set their timeline...  The only timeline for the local boards to met was the Tuesday, 11/12 midnight to report certified results, so it is a moot point... If a board in republican area but an aribatry deadline of Friday, that is on them.

      Takin it to the Streets! time to GOTV

      by totallynext on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 07:57:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Other comment. During the provisional vote (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Glenn Magus Harvey

        Count in northern Viriginia there were two provisional votes that were accepted to be reviewed...when they open the envelope there were no ballots...

        How in the heck did that happen?  The provisional ballot is cast at the precinct, the election judge then accepts the ballot and secures it in the envelope and submits the ballot/envelope to the county board to review during the canvass...  Where are those ballots?  

        Some precicnt election chief needs to explain!

        Takin it to the Streets! time to GOTV

        by totallynext on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 08:02:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, just in case, (0+ / 0-)

        I voted on a fill-in-the-bubble optical-scan paper ballot.

  •  Manual Recounts (0+ / 0-)

    As the item on the VA-AG race points out, we may have some sort of manual recount of optically scanned ballots in that race.  I'm not familiar enough with the new law to know whether a manual review of every ballot in every county is something either side can demand in a recount, or whether that side would have to show some cause to do a full hand count.  But whatever the rules in this specific case, in general we shouldn't let what happened in FL 2000 create an unthinking enthusiasm for hand counting in every case.

    This AG race is an excellent example of the problem of hand counting a hyper-close race.  If you look at the VA state website cited in the item for the AG results, then go to local results, it will tell you that Fairfax County reported 303,083 votes in the AG race.  So far so good.  But go to the Fairfax County website, and they give you this crucial extra bit of information, that total votes in Fairfax County were 311,429.  To be sure, many of those 8,000 "missing" votes are due to drop-off, the fact that some people only go to the polls to vote for the top line race/s, and don't bother voting further down the line.  But the state site will tell you that only 306,161 voters from Fairfax voted in the governor's race.  So that's over 5,000 votes unaccounted for.

    To be sure, some of the 5,000 are folks who came in and voted for some race further down the line, but skipped the governor's race.  Maybe they hate McAuliffe.  But most of the 5,000 are almost certainly people who thought they voted in the governor's race, but made a mark the optical scanner didn't register.  The scanner will kick your ballot back if you vote more than one candidate in any race, or if you don't vote for anyone in any race, but it accepts your ballot if it can't read any vote in a given race, because the assumption is that some voters don't want to vote all the races.

    Now, the AG race has over 8,000 "missing" voters.  At least 3,000 of those are almost certainly legitimate drop-off, voters who came to vote in the governor's race, but didn't care to vote for either AG candidate.  But that still leaves approx. 5,000 ballots in Fairfax County on which the voter made some sort of mark, but that mark didn't meet the optical scanners' criteria for a vote that could be counted.

    Bottom line, if there's a hand recount, in Fairfax County alone, there are probably close to 5,000 ballots that humans are going to have to interpret because the scanner couldn't call them.  We can only hope that the optical scanners were 100% accurate when they did make a call, or that's who knows how many more votes up in the air.

    Now, you may think that's all to the good, because you've got FL 2000 on the brain and imagine that more people who failed to mark their ballots to optical scanner standards were probably our voters, therefore our side will do even better if at least some of those votes can be legitimately counted after human inspection.  But a lot has changed in 13 years, and the VA is not FL.  People more likely to have Alzheimer's are now more likely to have intended to vote for Obenshain, and worse, the humans who are going to be examining their ballots out in the deep red boonies are not going to have nearly as much scrutiny as folks in Fairfax County looking over the ballots.

    The paper audit trail is very important as a safeguard against intentional or accidental systematic error.  Computerized counting and tabulating is necessary to get a precise result, but such systems are inherently "black boxes", you can't see what's going on inside them, and they are therefore vulnerable to large, systematic errors.  And, of course, the outcomes of elections are so important, that we have to worry a lot about systematic errors that aren't really errors, but crimes.

    But the paper audit trail is like Kryptonite to a close election.  Humans can't tally 2 million of any sort of object to the point that a variance of 164 means anything.  Then throw in the subjectivity of human interpretation of the marks on the ballots, and you can simply forget about the resulting count as any sort of indicator of which candidate actually had more votes cast for them.

    FL 2000 was both hyper-close, and it had all sorts of probable systematic sources of error -- the butterfly ballots and "Jews for Hitler", defective and overloaded punch machines, etc., etc.  A hand recount of counties where there were these systematic problems was reasonable, and would have yielded a more accurate count.  Such a recount might have put Gore far enough ahead that the margin would have been convincing as something beyond a variance caused by imprecision of counting, so it's reasonable to think that should have happened in FL 2000.

    VA-AG 2013 is not FL 2000.  There is no theory of a potential systematic error that either side is claiming.  There were only five races on the ballot, and only the governor, and, in some cases, the local Delegate race, had more than two candidates.  The result was a very clear ballot, with all races clearly demarcated off in their own space, so that we didn't have either butterflies or any reason to have Jews voting for Hitler by mistake.  There were no ballot punch machines that got clogged preferentially in blue precincts to skew the results systematically in one direction.  

    Counting the ballots by hand, in this race, is just going to open the gates of Random Drift Hell.

    The states must be abolished.

    by gtomkins on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 10:35:56 AM PST

  •  I knew Jim Ferlo waaaay back when (0+ / 0-)

    Back when he was a citizen activist/thorn in the side of Pittsburgh politicians, in about 1982. I smoked some of his weed ... or maybe it was the other way around.

    I'll always be UID:180, even if Markos tries to pry it away.

    by N in Seattle on Thu Nov 14, 2013 at 04:22:15 PM PST

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