Democrat Joshua Cole’s campaign has filed a federal lawsuit aiming to get late-arriving absentee ballots counted in Stafford County. The legal maneuver could also delay final certification of election results long enough for Democratic lawyers to figure out whether more than 600 voters in the Fredericksburg part of the contested House of Delegates district were given the wrong ballots. Cole, who trails Republican Supervisor Bob Thomas by 82 votes in the results certified by the Stafford County and Fredericksburg electoral boards, is one of three Democrats trailing in tight House races. For now, Republicans would hang on to control of the chamber with a 51-49 majority. Del. David Toscano of Charlottesville, the House Democratic leader, said he is hopeful that the final 10-vote margin in House District 94 in Newport News could be flipped in a recount.
The Democrats’ election lawyer, Marc Elias, was also hopeful, given the votes Democrats picked up in many precincts during the statewide recount four years ago in the attorney general’s race.
The third race likely to go to a recount over the next few weeks is in the 40th House District in Fairfax and Prince William counties where Republican Del. Tim Hugo maintains a 106-vote lead.
In Fredericksburg, Elias said those results appear to show about 668 votes at precincts that Virginia’s redistricting statutes say are in outgoing House Speaker Bill Howell’s 28th District that instead were cast in Republican Del. Mark Cole’s re-election victory in the 88th District.