I keep hearing that absentee ballots don’t get counted - unless the day-of ballots are close enough that the absentee ballots might actually change the result.
Say, McCain got 550,000 votes, Obama got 600,000 on November 4th. If there were only 10,000 absentee ballots, there’s no way they could affect the outcome, so why bother counting them (I’m ignoring other races / ballot initiatives for the sake of simplicity). Whereas if there were 60,000 absentee ballots, that might give McCain 610,000 votes, which would affect the election, so they must be counted.
I tried googling this yesterday and got nothing definitive. Specifically for Virginia, but the best I got was a non-official website saying “contrary to rumors, absentee ballots do count”.
Any links to official sites (Virginia or other states) which address this would be read with great interest.