Mystery Voter IDs in Virginia's General Election
We found 99 ballots counted in the 2023 General Election without a corresponding record in the state's registrations. Who assigned these IDs in the system? Plus, curious 'inactive-active' data.
Who assigned the mystery voter IDs of early voting ballots that were cast and counted in Virginia’s 2023 General Election?
EPEC Team members found 99 voter identification numbers assigned to early voting ballots that were counted, according to Daily Absentee List (DAL) records, but the same IDs do not exist on official registration lists.
According to EPEC’s analysis, as of Friday, Dec. 8, the official Registered Voter List (RVL) monthly update from the Dept. of Elections does not list the voters’ ID.
The findings raise serious questions. Why are the voter ID records from Early Voting ballots not in the official record of registered voters? In addition, why are “inactive” voter records still listed as “inactive” after these IDs show ballots cast in 2023?
EPEC Team also checked for Same Day Registration records in the Dept. of Elections’ data and found no corresponding IDs for the early voting records.
In addition, ongoing study of early voting records show 380 ballots cast in the DAL where the corresponding Registered Voter List (RVL) record has been listed as “Inactive” since June 30, 2023. We find no modifications of that status in the official RVL record. EPEC Team members explain our methodology below.
Who Assigned the Mystery Voter IDs in the General Election?
EPEC’s Chief Technology Officer and lead volunteer analyst Jon Lareau has found 99 records of ballots cast in the Virginia 2023 General Election without a corresponding voter ID in the Dept. of Elections’ Registered Voter List (RVL).
This is according to a check of VA Department of Elections (ELECT) Daily Absentee List (DAL) data file, and analysis conducted by EPEC, a 501 c (3) nonprofit with a charitable mission of promoting voter participation and best practices in election data management.
The findings raise serious questions about whether statutes are being followed regarding Same Day Registration, as well as “inactive” voter records.
That’s Issue #1.
Lareau cites a few more in his report and methodology to explain his analysis:
Issue #2: We found 380 records of ballots cast in the DAL where the corresponding RVL record has been listed as “Inactive” since June-30-2023; yet no modification to the RVL record has taken place.
Issue #3: EPEC found 18 records of ballots cast in the DAL where the corresponding RVL record is still listed as “Inactive” as of Dec-01-2023 monthly update of registered voters, despite modifications to the RVL record since June-30-2023.
EPEC has reached out to elections officials, assembly members, and the Attorney General’s office of Virginia to provide them the details of our analysis, asking for investigations into the anomalies.
As Lareau notes in his analysis:
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). EPEC 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.
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.
These are the exact headers from the Dept. of Elections:
When more than 90 ballots show up in a record of who voted, but the official registration list by the Dept. of Elections has zero corresponding record of the voter, it raises serious questions about election oversight.
Election officers are trained on how to handle voters who show up to vote but have no registration record. Or are listed as “inactive” after not voting in federal elections.
“I can demonstrably show records in the DAL file of ballots cast in the 2023 election that do not have a corresponding RVL entry that ever existed at any point between June 28 and Dec 01 2023,” Lareau wrote on his “X” account this week.
For example, one of the mystery voter IDs cast a ballot in mid-October, 2023, and the ballot was accepted. Between June of 2023 and Dec. 1st, June 2023 and Dec 2023, the same voter ID do not exist in the state’s official RVL record.
“This may be a data maintenance issue. Or it could be something else,” given that eligible voters who show up to vote after the official deadline to register are tallied as “Same Day Provisional” ballots.
“If these are true and valid ballots cast, then the Dept of Elections has a serious problem in their record keeping and are negligent in reporting accurate data.”
In addition, if an “inactive” voter ID is present in the current voting record as having cast a ballot, that voter ID record should be moved to “active.”
Same Day Registration procedures, as well as changes to voting districts, created enough confusion with election officer training this year that many localities added a “Same Day Registration Specialist” to the 2023 General Election. Registrars are grappling with an ever-expanding list of election procedures and processes since early voting was expanded to 45 days in Virginia.
But given the procedures involved, and the controls that are supposed to be present in adding SDR and new registrations, it is important to understand how voting records contain mystery voter IDs. Who assigned them?
2. A Note to Readers about the EPEC Mission:
A key pillar of our nonprofit, nonpartisan, charitable mission of promoting voter participation is tethered to transparency and best practices in election data. We believe that transparency drives greater public trust, and furthers participation.
Readers of the EPEC Team newsletter and our other publications know that election data from the Dept. of Elections costs many thousands of dollars to acquire. We have another big purchase coming up on January of the final list of who voted in 2023.
If you would like to make a donation to help us meet the $15,000 cost, please visit our donation page: Make an EPEC Donation
As a 501 c (3) education charity focused on voter participation, we rely on donations and grants to help us defray the costs to purchase, preserve, and maintain election data. We thank you for your consideration and support so EPEC can continue its unique mission election data transparency and best practices.
That’s a wrap for this week’s EPEC Team update. Happy Hanukkah to our partners in the Jewish faith.
EPEC Team will be back with another update this Holiday Season. But if we miss your participation, wishing you all a Merry Christmas.
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