A federal judge refused Wednesday to issue a temporary restraining order to stop Virginia’s board of elections from certifying the results in two House of Delegates races in which more than 300 voters were apparently assigned to the wrong races. It is unclear how many of those voters cast ballots on Nov. 7. The ruling was a setback for Democrats, whose hopes for taking control of the chamber could rest on one of the two seats. “The job of the board is to certify the count,” Judge T.S. Ellis III of U.S. District Court in Alexandria said in a hearing conducted by telephone. “Let the state process run its course.” But the judge let the lawsuit stand, meaning Democrats could return to the court after the results are certified by the state board of elections to challenge the outcome and request a new election. “We don’t have a clear picture, exactly, of the scope of the problem,” Ellis said.
Republicans had unsuccessfully argued the case should be dismissed like two others brought by Democrats or their allies since the Nov. 7 elections.
Amid questions about voting irregularities, the state board of elections has twice delayed certifying the results in the two Fredericksburg-area House races. It is expected to meet Monday.
State elections officials have said 83 Fredericksburg voters were erroneously assigned to the 88th House District instead of the neighboring 28th. It was not clear how many of the 83 voted, but the mix-up has drawn intense scrutiny because one of the races was a squeaker that could tip the balance of power in the House.