With only 226 votes between unofficial winner Bryce Reeves and incumbent senator Edd Houck, a recount is almost guaranteed. But how does it work? If Edd Houck is going to request a recount of the unofficial 226-vote loss to Republican Bryce Reeves, he must do so within 10 days from the day the State Board of Elections certifies the results of the 17th District Senate race. Power in the state senate hinges on this race. If Reeves wins, there would be a 20-20 tie in the Senate, and Lt. Gov. Bill Boiling, a Republican, would cast the tie-breaking votes. If Houck wins, Democrats retain a majority.
Typically, the results are certified the day following Election Day. Any candidate can request a recount if he or she loses by 1-percent or less of the total votes. Unofficial stats show Houck lost to Reeves by a slim margin. The latest results, posted shortly after 3 p.m., from the Virginia State Board of Elections shows Reeves with a lead over Houck of 22,608 to 22,382. The 226 vote margin is still less than 1-percent of the total votes cast in the race.
Houck would have to petition the circuit courts in Richmond and Spotsylvania County. The State Board of Elections then becomes responsible for safeguarding the ballots by sealing them in boxes and locking them in a vault. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia will pick two judges to sit with the chief judge on the recount court.
Within five days of the recount petition, the chief judge of the circuit court will call a preliminary hearing where each party can inspect electronic voting machines used in the election and have access to pollbooks used during the election. The chief judge also can name the location for the recount.