The 2020 election outcomes revealed a telling political trajectory occurring in Virginia and the nation. Final tallies indicated that Republicans’ future chances of winning in the state may be ever-slimming. A consistent theme across the board – Republicans fell short with the unprecedented number of absentee voters.
Although Republicans increased their presidential vote totals from 2016 by about 185,000, Democrats increased their votes by nearly 400,000. In every election since 2008, Democratic candidates had only enjoyed about a 10,000 vote increase per year.
Incumbent Elaine Luria (D-VA-02) retained her seat in a battle against Republican candidate Scott Taylor that was similar to 2018.
In the first hour after polls closed, Taylor started out with a 23 point lead in the 17 percent of votes reported. From there on out, Taylor’s lead dwindled. Two hours after polls closed, Taylor was up by 18 points with 36 percent of the votes reported. An hour later, Taylor dropped to lead Luria by 10 points with 48 percent of votes. By 1 in the morning, Luria made her first gain ahead of Taylor, leading by 3 points with 85 percent of the vote.
By the early morning hours of November 4, Virginia Beach mayor Bobby Dyer had secured his re-election by defeating both Jody Wagner and Richard Kowalewitch. Dyer won by about nine points against the runner-up, Wagner – an even larger margin than his 2018 victory.
The incumbent cruised ahead comfortably within the first hour, holding a 30 point lead at 27 percent of votes. Dyer gained two points from his lead at around 9 p.m. EST, which reflected 74 percent of voters. In two hours, Dyer retained his lead despite a 14 percent increase in voters factored. By two in the morning, the incumbent had winnowed down to an eight point lead representing 97 percent of voters.
The Lynchburg Registrar’s Office maintains that allegations of improper absentee ballot counting were a result of an unintentional oversight of ballot law. No Republican officials were present per The Code of Virginia.
On Monday, the only workers present to process absentee ballots were “non-party affiliation.” Emails shared with The Virginia Star reveal that some of these workers had identified as Democrats up until last year.
Elections officials report that Virginia’s critical election system is malfunctioning during early voting, and worry it could fail on or before Election Day.
This isn’t the first time the Virginia Election and Registration Information System (VERIS) has presented issues. A 2018 report recommended the legislature replace VERIS. Specifically, the report stated that the system couldn’t be relied upon for elections.