You have heard the statement "every vote counts" your entire life. For the second time in eight years, voters in Virginia are learning that lesson first hand.
The race for Attorney General is still unsettled. It will remain that way for at least another month or so. A recount is certain, but the Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman argues that it may not be the recount you should be focused on.
Wasserman argues that whomever is in the lead when the vote is certified at the end of November will likely be the winner. Even if the likely recount occurs.
Wasserman stopped by the NBC12 studios Friday afternoon, the morning after he broke the news of the discovery of a serious error in the absentee vote collection in ballot rich Fairfax County.
The potential for a problem was first raised by Ben Tribbett during our NBC12 Election Special Tuesday night.
Wasserman was informed of the discrepancy by Rep. Gerry Connolly's political team, who understands Fairfax County's electorate better than anyone.
"They were suspicious from the beginning that Fairfax County's absentee ballot count, particularly in Eastern Fairfax County, was too low given historical trends," Wasserman said.
The "7 Corners Surprise" as Wasserman's red hot twitter feed labeled it Thursday night, was the realization that Eastern Fairfax County's absentee ballot return rate was a shade under 50%, while the rest of the county had a return rate in the high 80% range. According to Wasserman's calculations that meant as many as three thousand ballots had yet to be counted.
Late Friday evening, Wasserman reported that there were indeed 3,0008 uncounted absentee ballots. However, the Democrat Mark Herring won only 68.8% of them. That was not enough to overtake the Republican Mark Obenshain's lead.
According to Tribbett who was there when they were counted, Herring did net a total of 1,140 votes including other errors in the counting.
The update has yet to be reflected on the State Board of Election's official site.
However, Herring's hope are not dashed yet. There are still several thousand provisional ballots still to be accounted for. Wasserman's analysis is that it could lead to a net benefit to the Democrat of a little more than 100 votes.
Wasserman strongly believes both sides want the lead when the vote is certified. He argues that most significant shifts in the vote totals happen during this in depth and copious statewide canvas.
He said the canvas is often so precise that the recount doesn't change things all that much.
"In the canvas phase of the count is when elections officials can really unearth big numbers that can shift the tabulation overall," he said. "A couple hundred votes or a couple thousand votes in one direction or the other."
If you enjoy Wasserman's in-depth twitter feed, you will like our conversation where he breaks down everything that goes in to tracking the vote totals in this very close race.
Keep in mind our conversation occured before the #7cornerssuprise issue was resolved.