The mystery of how, why and by whom a few hundred Northern Virginians were registered to vote in the wrong state legislative districts in this fall’s elections does not look as though it will be resolved soon. For one thing, the registrar who might have been able to shed some light on the issue died last spring. The more pressing question is what to do about the razor-thin result in one of the districts, on which partisan control of the state House of Delegates may hinge. Short answer: A federal judge now reviewing the mess should order a do-over. That would be an unusual recourse for the race in the 28th House District, including parts of Stafford County and Fredericksburg, where Republican Robert Thomas leads Democrat Joshua Cole by 82 votes. It would also be warranted.
Consider: Dozens of the district’s voters, including some in a heavily Democratic precinct, were disenfranchised when they were mistakenly issued ballots to vote in the neighboring 88th House District (where the outcome was not close). Dozens more voters in the 88th District, which tilts Republican, were mistakenly given ballots to vote in the 28th.
An additional 237 voters were misassigned between the two districts but never cast a ballot — in some cases, perhaps, because they were confused about their registrations. And who could blame them?