Update: SBE sharply revises 2012 v. 2008 absentee rate
For the last two weeks, VPAP has reported on State Board of Elections numbers that indicated absentee voting was brisk this year, compared to 2008.
The SBE now says those numbers were in error. The SBE now says that, with eight days before the election, the pace of absentee voting in Virginia is actually 30% lower compared to the same point four years ago.
Here are the revised numbers of absentee ballots cast so far (as of this morning):
- 2008 - 350,000
- 2012 - 246,000
Closures related to Hurricane Sandy are expected to depress the numbers even further. Gov. McDonnell has authorized local registrars to extend hours before the deadline this Saturday to vote absentee.
Virginia does not allow no-excuse early voting. Those seeking to vote before Election Day must sign a sworn statement that they will be out of town on Election Day or meet one of 11 other qualifications.
In 2008, nearly 500,000 Virginians voted by absentee ballot, more than twice than had done so in 2004. The surge was partly the result warnings from state and local election officials to expect long lines at the polls. Voters in some localities decided to queue up in the before the election to cast absentee ballots.
The 2008 v. 2012 error in absentee voting rates was caused by a flaw in an SBE data query that resulted in an under count in 2008 absentee balloting. The lower 2008 number made this year's numbers look bigger by comparison, which VPAP first reported on October 12.