On the first day of the recount in the state’s tight race for attorney general, Democrat Mark R. Herring, the certified winner of the Nov. 5 election, had widened his lead over Republican Mark D. Obenshain to 305 votes, up from 165. “We saw significant growth in the margin of the Herring victory today; frankly, greater than we initially anticipated,” Herring’s legal counsel Marc Elias said Tuesday evening. “We expect to maintain or increase this margin as the recount expands to additional jurisdictions tomorrow.” Fairfax County and the cities of Alexandria and Chesapeake a head start on the attorney general election recount. See pictures from the recount. Fairfax County and the cities of Alexandria and Chesapeake got a head start Monday on the recount, with the state’s remaining localities following today. In Fairfax, Virginia’s largest county, recount officers are reviewing a total of 300,000 optical scan paper ballots. All ballots rejected by the tabulators — write-ins, undervotes and overvotes, in many cases — will be reviewed and counted by hand.
The recount is focusing primarily on undervotes, ballots where the optical scanners didn’t record a vote for either Herring or Obenshain. There are roughly 5,000 undervotes in Fairfax County. Obenshain is hoping that counting these ballots will swing the result in his favor.
“The initial count showed that Herring won Fairfax by about 60,000 votes. Obenshain won the rest of the state by about 60,000 votes,” said Obenshain spokesman Paul Logan. “We expect that as legitimate votes previously counted as undervotes are added into the tally in localities that supported Obenshain that we’ll see corresponding or even greater swings in our direction.”
Any challenged ballots will be put before a three-judge recount court in Richmond on Thursday, which is expected to announce the winner by Friday. Fewer than 60 ballots were challenged Monday to be sent to the recount court, Elias said.