The Pew Charitable Trusts elections initiative has been crunching the numbers across all 50 states to compare statistics on voter registration rates, voter turnout, and the numbers of absentee and provisional ballots that are accepted or rejected.
In its snapshot of Virginia (published September 19), Pew focused on the change in absentee ballot acceptance rates between 2008 and 2012:
The number of domestic absentee ballots rejected in Virginia declined from 2008 to 2012. Of the approximately 423,000 absentee ballots cast in 2012, 2,278, or 0.5 percent, were rejected. In 2008, the rejection rate among the nearly 550,000 absentee ballots cast was 1.3 percent.What this suggests is that voters are being more conscientious when filling out their absentee ballots -- making sure that there is a witness signature, for instance, and providing a proper and current address -- and election officials are being more conscientious about examining ballot envelopes when they arrive.
By comparison, the 2012 absentee ballot rejection rate in West Virginia was 0.2 percent (26 out of 13,792 ballots); in Pennsylvania, it was 0.7 percent (1,845 out of 248,561); in North Carolina, it was 1.1 percent (2,237 out of 205,078); and in Michigan, it was 0.6 percent (8,049 out of 1,259,902 absentee ballots returned).
Pew's infographic of Virginia's 2012 voting statistics is here: Virginia-PewSnapshot
(This article was originally posted on Virginia Politics on Demand on October 1, 2013.)