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Records of Early Ballots Cast Do Not Have Corresponding Registration Records in VA 2023 General Election Data

Update (2023-12-14 12:00:00 EST) : Special thank you to Rick Michael of the Chesterfield Electoral board for checking their records on issues #1 and #2 below. There were 3 x Issue #1 records and 9 x Issue #2 records identified in Chesterfield County.

According to Rick, the records in question were populated and visible when looking via the electronic VERIS (the states election database) login available to the Registrar. The 3 x Issue #1 records can be found and are Active records in the electronic system, and the 9 x Issue #2 records had an update that moved the records from Inactive to Active that were not reflected in the data supplied to us.

That implies that the data that we purchased (for approximately $12,000) directly from the department of elections is inaccurate and incomplete. Our initial purchase and download of the June 30 Registered Voter List (RVL) database does not show the registrants identified in Issue #1, even though the Registrar can see them in their electronic terminal. And our Monthly Update Subscription (MUS) we receive is missing the updates showing the registrant records identified in Issue #2 being moved from Inactive to Active status.

The department of elections is required by federal law (NVRA, HAVA) to keep and maintain accurate election records AND to make those records accessible for inspection and verification, and for use by candidates and political parties. Additionally, we have paid (twice!) for this data; once as taxpayers, and once again as a 501c3 entity. If the data we, and other campaigns and candidates are receiving is not representative of the actual records in the database, incomplete and inaccurate … that needs to be addressed and fixed.

  • Issue #1: There are 99 records of ballots cast, according to the VA Department of Elections (ELECT) Daily Absentee List (DAL) data file that do not have corresponding voter ID listed in Registered Voter List (RVL) data.
  • Issue #2: There are 380 records of ballots cast in the DAL where the corresponding RVL record has been listed as “Inactive” since June-30-2023 and no modification to the RVL record has taken place.
  • Issue #3: There are 18 records of ballots cast in the DAL where the corresponding RVL record is listed as “Inactive” as of Dec-01-2023, but there has been previous modifications to the RVL record since June-30-2023.
  • We are currently reaching out in attempts to contact the VA AG’s office and to provide them the details of this analysis in order to have these anomalies further investigated.
Data files utilized for this analysis:

Our 501c3 EPEC purchased and downloaded the full statewide VA RVL on June-30-2023 from ELECT. We additionally purchased the Monthly Update Service (MUS) package from ELECT, where on the 1st of each month we are provided a list of all of the changes that have occurred to the RVL in the previous month. By applying these changes to our baseline data file, we are able to update our copy of the RVL to reflect the latest state as per ELECT. We can also create a cumulative record of all entries associated with a particular voter ID by simply concatenating all of these datafiles.

Additionally, during the VA 2023 General Election, we purchased access to the Daily Absentee List (DAL) file generated by ELECT that documents all of the transactions associated with early mail-in or in-person voting during the 45 day early voting period. The DAL file we utilized for this analysis was downloaded from ELECT on Nov-13-2023 at 6am EST.

Identification of ballots cast via the DAL file can be performed by checking for rows of the DAL data table that have the APP_STATUS field set to “Approved” and have the BALLOT_STATUS field set to any of the following: “Marked” | “Pre-Processed” | “On Machine” | “FWAB” | “Provisional”.

Once cast ballots are identified in the DAL, the Voter Identification Number can be used to lookup all of the corresponding records in our cumulative RVL data. The data issues summarized above can be directly observed using this process. Due to VA law, we cannot publish the full specific records here in this blog but have summarized, captured and described our process and results.

For Issue #1: If there does not exist a corresponding registration record for cast ballots, then the voter should not have been able to have their mail-in ballot approved or issued, or been able to check-in to an early voting precinct to vote on-machine. If the voter record actually does exists, then why is it not reflected in the data that we purchased from ELECT. Note that all provisional and Same Day Registration (SDR) ballots were required to be entered into the states database (“VERIS”) by the Friday after the election (Fri Nov-10-2023). We specifically waited until we received the Dec-01-2023 MUS data update from ELECT to attempt to perform this or similar analysis in order to ensure that we would not be missing any last minute registrations or RVL updates.

For Issue #2: There are 380 records of ballots being cast in the DAL where the baseline June-30-2023 RVL data file shows the registrant as inactive, and there has been no modifications or adjustments to the record presented in the MUS data files. Therefore these registrants should still have been listed as “Inactive” during the early voting period which started in September through Election Day (Nov 7).

For issue #3: There are 18 records that show the cast ballot is from a registrant that is currently listed as “Inactive” but there has been adjustments to the registration record over the last 6 months. An example of such is below. Note that I have captured the MUS data file generation dates in the 5th column to note when the file was generated and received by us.

In the example given below, the first invalidation operation on the registration record appears in the MUS file dated Sep-01, with the earliest transaction date listed as Aug-29-2023. The ballot application was not received until Sept 26 according to the DAL, so the application should never have been approved or the ballot issued as the registrant status should have been “Invalid” according to the states own data.

(Also … yes … I know there is a typo in the spelling of “APP_RECIEPT_DATE” in the tables below … but this is the data as it comes from ELECT).

“2023-09-26 00:00:00”Approved“2023-10-19 00:00:00”Pre-Processed
Example Extract of a DAL data record for a mail-in ballot cast during early voting.
30-June-202312:12:00BASELINEBASELINEBaseline RVL
28-Jul-202309:34:03MODIFYChange OutMUS 08/01/2023
28-Jul-202309:34:04MODIFYAddress ChangeMUS 08/01/2023
28-Jul-202309:34:04MODIFYChange InMUS 09/01/2023
28-Jul-202309:34:03MODIFYChange OutMUS 09/01/2023
28-Jul-202309:34:04MODIFYAddress ChangeMUS 09/01/2023
28-Jul-202309:34:04MODIFYChange InMUS 09/01/2023
29-Aug-202311:55:49MODIFYInactivateMUS 09/01/2023
29-Aug-202311:55:49MODIFYInactivateMUS 10/01/2023
Extract of RVL Cumulative Data Records for Voter ID in above DAL entry

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