How Friday Tally Works

In Virginia, elections are not complete until the Friday after Election Day. On that day, voting officials will tally up additional ballots that under Virginia law can be considered. In November 2020, the Friday tally resulted in approximately 84,000 additional votes statewide.

Below are the two types of ballots that can be considered on the Friday after Election Day:

1. Ballots Received in the Mail by noon Friday

State law allows mail ballots postmarked on or before Election Day to be considered if the post office delivers them by noon on Friday. In addition to a legible postmark, each ballot must have a witness signature and meet the same requirements for mail ballots that were received on or before Election Day. Starting this fall, each locality will report the mail ballots received and tallied after Election Day in a separate precinct.

Mail Ballots in November 2020

We use the word "guesstimate" because procedures were not in place in November 2020 to determine how many mail ballots that were counted on Friday arrived after Election Day. In that election, the Department of Elections provided instructions to local registrars to stop processing mail ballots a few hours after the polls closed on Election Day and wait to process them on Friday.

2. Provisional Ballots

Voters whose eligibility cannot be confirmed at the polling location on Election Day have the right to cast a provisional ballot. This preserves the voter's right to provide his or her eligibility over the next few days. Circumstances that result in provisional ballots include:

  • The voter’s name is not listed in the poll book.
  • The voter had been mailed an absentee ballot, but did not bring it to the polls.
  • The voter provides no acceptable form of ID and refuses to sign an ID confirmation statement.
The voter has until noon Friday to provide additional information that would help local officials validate his or her eligibility to vote.

Provisional Ballots in 2020

Source: Virginia Department of Elections