State of Elections

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Tag: Split Precincts

Who’s Afraid of Virginia’s Split Precincts? The Resulting Anomalies From Split Precincts in Virginia’s 2017 and 2019 Elections

By: James Lomonosoff

No election is perfect. Indeed, one reason the Virginia Department of Elections regularly releases a report summing up the year’s election day complaints is likely to demonstrate the fallibility inherent in any human-run electoral system. Another reason, naturally enough, is so that the number of complaints and what matter they relate to can be tracked over time. In November 2018, as that year’s after-action report indicates, there were around 25 complaints related to “ballot” incidents. What might prompt a ballot-related complaint?

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A State Divided

Virginia’s split precinct problem

by Brooks Braun

The 2012 election will soon be upon Virginia. If past elections and the current political climate are reliable guides, the level of participation will once again place enormous pressure on the election administrative apparatus. Will Virginia be prepared? One ominous reason to be skeptical is the recent explosion of split precincts following from the2011 redistricting process.

Split precincts are a normal outcome of every redistricting process. The precinct itself is usually the smallest unit of administration in an election district. However, when the General Assembly draws new district lines that do not follow old precinct lines, a split precinct is created.  In such a precinct, voters don’t all vote for the same offices. For example, some voters in the precinct might vote for a representative to fill state senate seat A, while other voters, in the same precinct, vote for a representative to fill state senate seat B. Precincts can also be split more than once (once by a concessional district line and once more by a state senate line, for instance). It’s like having multiple precincts in one. Continue reading

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