In the upcoming recount of Virginia’s attorney general election results, Chesapeake’s 61,000 paper ballots must be tallied manually, the state Board of Elections has told city officials. The reason, according to Chesapeake General Registar William “Al” Spradlin, is that the city’s optical scanning equipment cannot segregate ballots that were undervoted – didn’t vote in all races – or overvoted – voted for too many candidates. Instructions from a three-judge panel overseeing the recount indicated those ballots must be singled out for examination, Spradlin said. Democrat Mark Herring was certified with a victory of 165 votes out of 2.2 million cast in the Nov. 5 election, close enough for his opponent, Republican Mark Obenshain, to request the recount.
Spradlin estimates it will take two to three days to hand-count the ballots. The statewide recount begins Dec. 16 in Fairfax County and the next day in the rest of the commonwealth.
“They’d like us to do it in a day,” Spradlin said, “but that can’t be done. It’s physically impossible.”
He said the Chesapeake electoral board will assemble a team of 40, half Democrats and half Republicans, to count the ballots. The two campaigns have been asked to submit names of those they want on the teams. All must have worked as election officials at the November election.