Virginia’s Board of Elections on Monday unanimously certified two state legislative races — in which 147 voters cast ballots in the wrong district — in favor of the Republicans in both contests. The decision means that Republicans control 51 seats in the House of Delegates while Democrats control 49. The action shuts down one potential route, but it does not end Democrats’ hopes to win control of the chamber. In letters sent over the weekend, Democrats had urged the Democratic-controlled board to hold off on certification because of the irregularities, particularly since one of the two races — in District 28 — was a squeaker that could determine which party takes charge of the House.
In that race, Republican Robert Thomas leads Democrat Joshua Cole by 82 votes in the contest to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford).
After conferring privately with lawyers for about 45 minutes, the board’s three members said they were required by statute to certify the results by Monday’s deadline — despite irregularities that Chairman James Alcorn said he expects the courts or the House to eventually sort out.