Get Your Recount Fix

All over town, folks are pretty obsessed about the status of the Goode/Perriello canvass (or the recount, as it’s colloquially known.) You’ll notice a new item over on the sidebar of cvillenews—the latest status of the Perriello/Goode recount. That’s updated every five minutes, with a link to the SBE’s log of changes to the tally. I’ve also created a JavaScript widget that you can embed in your own website:

<script src="" type="text/javascript"></script>

Here’s a screenshot of how it looks:


And for those of y’all looking for something rawer, there’s a plain text version with each candidate’s totals.

24 thoughts on “Get Your Recount Fix”

  1. If you’re hooked on this story, there is more at:
    and much more at, a blog on Va. politics.

    The AP has really fallen down on providing follow-up numbers. Only local media has been keeping track. The election maps at C-SPAN, Yahoo, CNN, etc., and even wonky places like DailyKos, are all way outdated, showing Goode ahead by 98 votes.

    Now get back to work.

  2. Looks to me as if commenter Ackerman was correct about missing votes in Carver precinct in Charlottesville. Most likely explanation is that the votes from one machine simply didn’t get recorded in the statement of results on election night (this happened in more than one locality in November 2005, too).

    Pretty significant race, since it flips the Virginia Congressional delegation to a Democratic majority. (Not to mention the way it allows 5th District-ers to hold their heads high, replacing one of the worst members in the House with someone who’s on his way to becoming one of the best).

    Thanks for the handy widget!

  3. Just saw that Perriello picked up another 100 votes from Free Union precinct. Apparently someone called in 442 votes for him Tues night instead of the correct total of 542. Puts him up by over 700.

  4. from an NBC 29 story last night:

    “The city’s voter registrar says two precincts did not report complete results on election night. The oversight at both Carver Recreation and Jefferson Park Avenue skipped almost 600 votes in the tight race between Tom Perriello and Virgil Goode.

    “The chief election officer did not generate a tally tape on the e-scan machine. So when they reported the numbers back to the registrar’s office, they only read the numbers from the e-slate machine,” explained Charlottesville Electoral Board’s Rick Sincere.”

    So, the paper ballot total was just overlooked….

    I have Perriello picking up 622 votes from Carver & Jefferson Park.

  5. Speaking of JPA, did anyone else have problems with voting machines there? Specifically machine #6?
    The software would not allow me to scroll past the first (Obama/McCain) page.

  6. A feature of the 2001 Help America Vote Act (hate that name) is that if you show up at the wrong poll in the wrong state, you can still vote for the President only. So the crappy electronic machines have crappy software to allow that which leads to crappy mistakes by hard-working poll workers.

  7. RE: “Bad phone connection, called-in results were not heard correctly.”

    Wow. They actually just report them over the phone? It’s amazing that someone could lose 100 votes just due to hearing it wrong over the phone.

    Watching this process up close sure doesn’t make one feel more comfortable with it…

  8. I can understand a missed or transposed number that gets corrected in a day or two. But 600 votes is unsettling and not worthy of a “world class city”.
    Don’t you simply add up the number of voters with votes cast at the end of the night. The chief election officer needs to find a new job.

    This and the stolen laptops show me that there need to be significant changes to how the city performs this most basic of its duties.

  9. I can understand a missed or transposed number that gets corrected in a day or two. But 600 votes is unsettling and not worthy of a “world class city”.

    This is actually wrong on a couple of fronts, the latter of which is probably not particularly obvious to most people.

    The first is that this isn’t a Charlottesville canvass, this is a state-wide canvass, and the numbers are changing because of inaccuracies in every single municipality in the 5th district.

    The second is that this is simply how it works in every election, every time. This is why the results won’t be certified for a couple of weeks. It’s just that normally nobody cares—generally the winner pulls off a greater margin, so the result won’t change in the canvassing. If it emerges a couple of months later that a victor had a 58.2% margin, rather than a 57.9% margin, nobody really cares. It’s for our convenience (and impatience) that the SBE announced the numbers on Tuesday night. But they don’t pay any mind to those numbers until they tally them meticulously, which is exactly what they’re doing now.

    You’re just seeing the election process working like it supposed to—they’re in the process of getting everything right, in the manner of a…uh…world class district. :)

  10. Waldo, I’m not speaking of actual fraud or official counts and nothing Charlottesville has done this election looks to be world class. I could certainly see where many questions are unanswered but what I read gives me serious pause. I’m talking about a systemic problem. It’s the integrity of the process. It is one thing to get a number wrong or misreport, it’s quite another to FORGET to count 100’s of votes and have data stolen. Are your defending the job done by Charlottesville’s election board as it looks today?

    If the paper votes weren’t counted for a day, where were they stored? If they were counted and not reported that is an oversight and goes to the exact point that you made. If the vote were cast and not counted that night it puts the process in to question. I don’t pretend to know what the story is but can only go on what it currently looks like. Of course I will wait till the official story and canvass is concluded. I hope there is a better explanation then what has been reported so far.

    Let’s flip this and say that it was a Goode heavy precinct and the same thing happened with the election in the balance. I would think that Perriello had a right to question the validity of any paper ballot that wasn’t counted the night of the election (again if they were counted and simply not reported then this is not an issue but only an unfortunate accounting error). And like the chain of evidence, some lack of security or provable possession could get those very ballots thrown out. The people of Charlottesville would be screaming how Perriello was robbed and how some county backwoods bumpkins stole the election for Virgil.

  11. Currently, the tally in the site’s sidebar says “Goode ahead by 0”, which is interesting. Also, it looks nothing like the screenshot, just a regular old link. Scrape failure, perhaps?

  12. I just got an email from the Periello campaign saying all the votes are in and counted, and Tom won, subject to an as yet un-asked for recall by Goode.

    Go Tom!

  13. Currently, the tally in the site’s sidebar says “Goode ahead by 0″, which is interesting. Also, it looks nothing like the screenshot, just a regular old link. Scrape failure, perhaps?

    It must have been a one-time scrape failure. But it intentionally looks different from the screenshot—I wanted something a little more well-integrated on

  14. Are your defending the job done by Charlottesville’s election board as it looks today?

    Absolutely I see no sign that they’ve done a single thing wrong. You’re looking at the process midway through and thinking of it as a finished product. It’d be like if I came up to you when you were halfway through balancing your checkbook and complained that it was off by $2.12. You’d say “yeah, I know, I’m not done.” And you’d be right. When you were finished, it’d balance, and that’d be that.

    If the paper votes weren’t counted for a day, where were they stored?

    They have a very rigorous process for handling them. They must be stored, locked, signed and sealed until the election is certified, and thereafter, if a recount is required. Again, this is the purpose of the canvass. The canvass is the real count. The thing that was done on Tuesday was for your and my convenience, not for the purpose of determining who won.

  15. “Absolutely I see no sign that they’ve done a single thing wrong.”

    You mean beside leaving laptops with encrypted but sensitve information where they could be stolen.

  16. Waldo, I’m sure the Cville election officials are embarrassed about having several giant misreports in their bailiwick. The system is working to fix an error, but it’s still a bad error. The problem with adding hundreds of lopsided votes two days after the election is that by that point everyone knows what margin is needed to flip the result. It looks bad.

    One possible excuse for Cville is that wages are higher here, and election workers don’t make much for a 5am – 8pm shift. But that’s not much of an excuse, and Albemarle still did better. Cville just has a hard time getting people to work the job, I think.

  17. I just don’t buy it. Do you know what other localities in the 5th made mistakes? Prince Edward, Lunenburg, Appomattox, Buckingham, Greene, Henry, Franklin, Brunswick, Campbell, Pittsylvania, Martinsville, Fluvanna, Bedford, Danville, Nelson, Albemarle, Halifax, Charlotte, and Mecklenburg. Astute readers will note that’s every single locality in the district, save for Cumberland. (Which is the least populous locality.) If one measures embarrassment in the number of votes that the preliminary count is off by—as opposed to, say, the percentage of precincts with problems, or the raw number of errors per locality—then Charlottesville is nowhere near Danville, who made thousands of votes’ worth of errors in every single precinct due to difficulty with the reporting software. Just one precinct in Campbell County was off by 144 votes. One precinct in Lunenburg was off by 300 votes. Another in Lunenburg failed to report any numbers on election night, shorting Goode 351 votes and Perriello 207.

    Just spent five minutes browsing through the SBE’s listing of election result changes for a few races. I just don’t know how to state this any more clearly: This is perfectly normal. This is how it works. In every district. In every race. Just about every time. There’s nothing unusual about Charlottesville or the 5th district. This is simply what happens in every election.

  18. I haven’t looked at past years, but I think this is worse than normal. When I worked at polls, both as an election official and as a party observer, we did not like to see counts off by one! If you are right that it was a widespread problem this time, can you agree Cville and Danville were the worst? And that election official are bemoaning their difficulty getting people to work that difficult shift and their inability to pay them more? News reports say the average age of an official poll worker is crazy high (60?) and includes many very young workers!

    The 5am – 8pm shift is compounded by the requirement that the workers cannot leave the room the entire time. Brief meal breaks are allowed, but either you bring your own or there may be snacks provided. Then after all that, at 7pm, you are supposed to do all the detailed clerical stuff, which you haven’t done ever, or in a year. It’s like opening night in a restaurant, but it’s like that *every* shift.

    Instead of working on reasonable fixes to this system after the 2000 debacle, we got the puerile “Help America Vote Act”, and a slew of ill-conceived, graft-laden techno fixes. No one, and I mean under 20% of people in the IT industry thing electronic voting is a good idea, but we have spent 8 years chasing that chimera while the obvious problems have gone unaddressed.

  19. I have to agree that it’s better to get everything right the first time, insofar as that supports the public perception that it’s all about Tuesday night. If we may define “worst” as “had the biggest changes after Tuesday night,” then I think Danville, Lunenburg, and Campbell come before Charlottesville on that list.

    You’re right that we’ve got a problem of age and the goofiness of HAVA. I’ve been railing against electronic voting for years now, and I’m not sure that I know of a single fellow programmer who thinks it’s a good idea. FWIW, we had a new worker in our precinct this year, a woman in her early 20s. I don’t know that she brought the average age much down from 60, but it’s a start.

  20. Geez, I don’t know about bashing on the poll workers. I recognized several of the observers/poll workers when I voted at 6 a.m. at Free Bridge (the Elks Club), and these were not people who I thought (a) were doing it for the $$ in the first place (that is, I don’t think the inability to pay much for the job necessarily has an impact on quality) and (b) may have been older but were not hopelessly doddering old ginks. I think if you are civic-minded enough to want to be a poll worker in the first place, you probably have enough education to be teachable, and enough economic security not to mind the pay.

  21. I’m not bashing them, I am saying the system does not pay them enough. Also, it’s a cute system to use once-a-year workers, but maybe more municipal professionals should be involved. I guarantee the full-time election officials are embarrassed about what happened and are trying to come up with a better way to train (and recruit) poll workers (who are also called “election officials”, the nomenclature is confusing).

    If more local employers, including the city/county itself, gave workers time off to be officials, that would help a lot. I think UVa allows workers to do so, but then confiscates the pay and makes it a net loss for the worker.

    This is not a well-funded system, except in one regard. Can you guess who gets the big bucks? Private industry. It’s just like in the military, where all the cutbacks are against the soldier/sailor pool, while the E-ring of the Pentagon entertains itself with gossip on the latest multi-multi-billion dollar contract.

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