The State Board of Elections on Monday confirmed Democrat Mark Herring’s victory over Republican Mark Obenshain in a historically close race for attorney general that appears headed to a recount. While the elections board unanimously certified Herring’s 165-vote edge, the board’s Republican chairman did so with reservations because of concerns about what he called inconsistencies by localities tallying the vote, an observation that is likely to add fuel to Obenshain’s expected decision to seek a recount. He has 10 days to do so. As he has done in the past, Herring declared himself Virginia’s next attorney general in the closest statewide race in modern Virginia history. The narrow margin for Herring was unchanged from the canvass done by local elections officials nearly two weeks ago. Provisional ballots and tabulation errors that were corrected in localities including Richmond and Fairfax County added to Herring’s lead after the Nov. 5 election.
Board chairman Charles Judd cited a lack of uniformity among localities in counting absentee and provisional ballots, or votes contested because a voter lacked the proper identification or voted at the wrong precinct.
“My vote to certify this election will be with question,” Judd said after the board voted. “I’m concerned with the integrity of the vote.”
After the meeting, Judd denied he was making the case for a recount, but said instead his concern was making sure future statewide votes are conducted uniformly.
“I’m not inviting a challenge,” said Judd, adding that a recount is “very likely.” ”I’m concerned about the lack of uniformity, that there be no differences in any of the localities in how votes are counted,” he said.