Virginia’s Board of Elections voted unanimously Monday to delay certification of two House races, amid new claims that dozens of voters got the wrong ballot in a tight contest that could determine control of the legislature’s lower chamber. The board called a “time out” after state Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortés announced that in April 2016, Fredericksburg registrar Juanita Pitchford erroneously assigned 83 voters from the 28th House District to the 88th. It was not clear how many of the 83 voters actually cast ballots on Nov. 7, but the 28th District race is tight. Republican Robert Thomas leads Democrat Joshua Cole by 82 votes in the contest to fill the seat held by retiring Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford).
Jonathan A. Gerlach, a lawyer for Cole who lives in Fredericksburg, told the board that he had found evidence that more than 100 Fredericksburg voters had been mis-classified.
Noting the closeness of the race and legal action threatened by Democratic attorneys, the board decided to certify only the state’s 98 other House races and the contests for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Monday was the state deadline to certify the election under state law, but the code allows the board up to three more days if it is “unable to ascertain the results.”
“Let’s just take a time out,” said board chairman James Alcorn. “Our goal is to make sure voters trust the election results.”