Virginia’s State Board of Elections on Monday certified the results of two Fredericksburg-area House of Delegates elections, despite Democrats asking the board to delay the process because 147 people voted in the wrong House district. The elections board’s 3-0 vote to certify the results showing Republicans winning the 28th and 88th District races does not finalize the outcome. But it closes an initial, chaotic chapter in the legal battle over a close 28th District race that could decide which party controls the House after Democrats picked up at least 15 seats in a wave election on Nov. 7.
In the 28th District, Republican Bob Thomas leads Democrat Joshua Cole by just 82 votes. Democrats who appear to be on the losing end in the 28th and a handful of other tight finishes can still pursue recounts or contest the final results at the General Assembly. Under state law, recounts cannot begin until the elections board certifies the results as official.
After a 50-minute closed meeting Monday afternoon to receive advice from the attorney general’s office, elections board Chairman James Alcorn said he and his colleagues can’t clean up the Fredericksburg mess on their own despite being made aware that at least 384 registered voters were assigned to the wrong voting district.
“How that happened or why it happened remains unclear. What is clear is that it did happen,” Alcorn said. “What is equally clear is that this board does not have a statutory remedy to address the irregularities.”