The victor in Virginia’s attorney general race was up in the air well into December. Localities had until November 12 to turn in the results of the contest between Sen. Mark Obenshain and Sen. Mark Herring. One of the delays in declaring a winner arose from a problem in Fairfax County, where a discrepancy in absentee votes was uncovered. In the 8th District in Fairfax County, only 50 percent of absentee ballots that were requested were cast compared to 88 percent in the 10th District and 86 percent in the 11th District. Once localities sent in their tallies to the state, the State Board of Elections will review the totals. The SBE had until November 25 to certify the results. If the margin of victory is within one percent, the losing candidate can request a recount, as Obenshain has done.
Regarding absentee ballots, Virginia law states that the board “shall not reject the application of any individual because of an error or omission on any record or paper relating to the application, if such error or omission is not material in determining whether such individual is qualified to vote absentee.” But in a recount, according to section 24.2-802 of the Code of Virginia, “the determination of the votes in a recount shall be based on votes cast in the election and shall not take into account (a) any absentee ballots or provisional ballots sought to be cast but ruled invalid and not cast in the election.”