Poll Workers and the Virginia Recount

The Virginia recount in the Attorney General’s race ended Wednesday with the same winner winning again. What is interesting is that the challenger had to show an example of a problem with the optical scan counters in a given precinct for that precinct’s votes to be recounted. And how did problems occur? According to the Washington Post,

Democratic observers…pinpointed discrepancies of just five votes in three precincts, apparently all the result of paper jams when ballots were fed into optical scanners.

The mistakes apparently occurred when poll workers took jammed ballots out of the optical scanner and either ran them through the machine again — in effect, counting them twice — or lifted the optical scanner and dropped them in by hand, meaning they were never counted at all.

This story illustrates again the importance of poll worker training and also the importance of understanding how–and whether–votes are actually counted in elections.