What to Expect from Monday Results

Monday is the deadline for local electoral boards to add to the unofficial vote totals that were reported on election night. These additional ballots, allowed under state law, consist of a record number of provisional ballots and mail ballots postmarked on or before Election Day.

If past elections are any guide, these late-arriving votes are more likely to favor Democratic candidates.

This means that in races that were too close to call on election night, a Democratic candidate who trails by a narrow margin likely has a better chance of flipping the results.

Below is an analysis of the partisan lean of both types of supplemental votes. Hanging in the balance are 35 ostensibly nonpartisan local elections that have been too close to call.

Mail Ballots

Democrats are far more likely to vote by mail than are Republicans, some of whom consider the practice more susceptible to fraud than in-person voting. Below are results from the 2021 gubernatorial election. (There there were 306,427 mail ballots tabulated on Election Day and another 25,056 processed the following Friday.)

Provisional Ballots

People are required to cast provisional ballot if there is some question whether they are qualified to vote. Situations include voters who don't bring proper ID to the polling station or whose names are not found on the voter rolls. This year provides a new situation for a provisional ballot -- someone who wishes to register and vote on the same day. Election officials research each situation and can allow a provisional ballot to count only if the voter's qualification is affirmed.

For reasons that are not readily apparent, provisional ballots tend to be more heavily used by Democrats. The past trends may not apply today as local electoral boards examine a record 35,000 provisional ballots swelled by same-day registration and possibly by a delay in DMV voter transactions that left some voters with outdated addresses.

Source: Election results from the 2021 gubernatorial election from the Virginia Department of Elections.