What does it look like when more votes come in later on Election Night?

As results came in, the lead in the 2018 congressional race between Republican Dave Brat and Democrat Abigail Spanberger changed several times during the night. But how would the same exact results have looked if early voting had been as high as it is this year?


Timeline of 2018 Brat-Spanberger Results: Uses precinct report times from the state Department of Elections rounded to the nearest 15 minutes on November 6, 2018.

Simulation of 2018 results adjusted with 2020 levels of absentee voting: VPAP used the identical sequence of when precincts reported, but shifted votes to each locality's central absentee precinct in proportion to the levels of early voting this year. The final results were the same, but the simulation delayed the reporting of a huge block of Democratic votes until later in the night. That is because a) the absentee votes in the 2018 Brat-Spanberger race tilted heavily Democratic and b) localities tend to report the results of their central absentee precinct later in the evening.

Source: Virginia Department of Elections.

Oct. 29, 2020