Whether they meant to or not, more than 83,000 Florida voters didn’t cast a valid vote for governor, according to a new report prepared by state officials. The combined total of invalid ballots outnumbered Republican Ron DeSantis’s margin of victory over Democrat Andrew Gillum by more than 50,000 votes. The race between DeSantis and Gillum was so close that it triggered an automatic statewide recount. More than 8.2 million votes were cast in the high-profile race for governor that attracted national attention. The total number of “non-valid votes” was 1 percent, which was a lower rate than either the 2016 presidential election or the 2014 governor’s race. These “non-valid votes” include ballots with write-in names such as Mickey Mouse and ballots that were left blank. It also includes those with votes for more than one candidate. More than 50,000 of the invalid ballots were left blank, suggesting that some people opted to skip the governor’s race.
National: 1.7 million people in 33 states and D.C. cast a ballot without voting in the presidential race | The Washington Post
In every election, there are people who go to the polls to cast a ballot but who don’t vote in every race. Usually, those “undervotes,” as they’re called, happen down-ballot, resulting in fewer votes for, say, county commissioner than, say, president of the United States. But in every election there are also people who skip the presidential ballot for whatever reason. It happens. With 2016 pitting two historically unpopular candidates against one another, we were curious about the extent to which undervoting occurred in the marquee contest this year. We found some evidence that it was occurring a few weeks ago, but set out to tally the undervote more deliberately, pulling in data from every state to figure out how many people skipped the top of the ticket. We were able to compile data from 33 states and D.C. In those states in 2012, there were 754,000 undervotes at the top of the ticket — about 0.9 percent of all ballots cast. In 2016? At least 1.75 million people skipped the presidential contest, 2 percent of the total. In other words, in these states, one out of every 50 people declined to vote in the presidential contest. That undervote varies by state. In only three states was the undervote percentage down. In states where it was up, it was up by an average of 2.5 times as much as in 2012.
National: Hundreds of thousands of Americans cast a ballot without voting for a presidential candidate | The Washington Post
Nevada makes it simple. Voters in Nevada are given a choice for each race on the ballot: Candidate A, Candidate B or “none of the above,” a formal protest vote that is more or less popular depending on who candidates A and B are. In 2012, 5,770 Nevadans chose “none of the above” over Mitt Romney or President Obama, a total equaling 0.57 percent of all presidential votes cast. Obama won the state easily. In 2016, however, the results were more stark. More than 2.5 percent of the ballots cast for president in the state were “none of the above” — 28,863 in total in a race that Hillary Clinton won by 27,207. Enough protest votes to have swung the results of the election. There are protest votes in other states, too, of course; they just aren’t given space on the ballot. In most places these are called “undervotes,” ballots that are cast without a vote for the person at the top of the ticket.
Lawyers for Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. have questioned the unusually high number of “undervotes” in the vice presidential race as shown in Certificates of Canvass (COCs) opened on Wednesday, the first day of the official tally by Congress. “We have accounted ‘undervotes’ Your Honor, that’s totaling the votes cast for the Vice President vis-à-vis the votes cast by the voters, it would appear that such number was discovered from the COC Your Honor that totals 623,174,” one of the lawyers, George Garcia, said on Thursday. The discovery confirmed Marcos’ earlier complaint that 3.3 million “undervotes” were discovered in their own quick count, Garcia added. Because of questions involving the “undervotes,” only 45 of the 48 opened COC were officially included in the canvass.
Delaware: Pew report praises Delaware voter registration, questions voting machines | Delaware Public Media
The Pew Charitable Trust’s examination of 17 areas such as polling station wait times placed Delaware in the top twenty-five percent of states overall when it comes to “election performance” – so says Pew’s manager of election initiatives Zachary Markovitz. “Delaware really is a pioneer leading the states, especially in improving their voter registration system,” said Markovitz. That improvement comes in the form of the “e-signature” program, which the First State implemented in 2009. The initiative lets Delaware residents complete the entire voter registration process at the DMV, instead of having to fill out paperwork, send it in by mail, wait for a response…. and very possibly, and understandably, have something get messed up along the way. The e-signature program was even praised by a task force commissioned by President Obama after the 2012 elections to find ways to improve election performance around the country. Still, Pew’s report found room for improvement in Delaware. Markovitz points to Delaware’s “residual vote rate” — basically, the number of votes cast in an election versus those actually counted. And when those numbers don’t match up, it could imply that some people’s votes are slipping through the cracks. …
Virginia: Alexandria to Hand Count All Paper Ballots in Recount For Attorney General | Connection Newspapers
Alexandria election officials will be going back to the future in the next few weeks, pouring over thousands of paper ballots by hand as part of a recount effort in the hotly contested race for attorney general. Although other jurisdictions with paper ballots will be reprogramming their scanners for the recount, election officials say the Hart InterCivic machines currently in use in Alexandria and Charlottesville have some key limitations that prevent them from being reprogrammed. “It’s not like that would happen in a split second by feeding them through the machine,” said Deputy Registrar Anna Lieder. “So we are prepared to do a hand count if that’s what’s required.” Election officials say the Hart InterCivic machines have two problems that would lead to a hand recount of all paper ballots. One is that the scanners must be able to conduct a recount for the race in question without also doing a recount for all the other races on the ballot, one of the limitations of the brand purchased by city officials. Another problem is that the scanners must be able to separate ballots where the voter has written in a name and under vote ballots, where no vote was registered for the attorney general race. Election officials say the stack of undervote ballots are likely to include a number of ballots where a voter may have written the name of a candidate or marked it in a way that was not picked up by the electronic scanner. “All these scanning devices have benefits and drawbacks,” said Lieder. “These are much more precise and easier to mark in the initial voting process.”