On Wednesday morning Mark Obenshain’s campaign will file for a recount in the recent election for Attorney General of Virginia. Obenshain is currently down 165 votes. The recount is likely to center around Fairfax county where provisional ballots were given more time for consideration than all other jurisdictions. From NBCWashington:
In the recount, Obenshain’s best hope would likely involve challenges of ballots cast as absentees or provisional — those contested when they were cast because a voter lacked proper identification or because of questions involving proper polling place.
A possible target for the recount would be provisional ballots counted in Fairfax County, despite Republican protests that the local election board extended too much time for voters who had cast those disputed ballots to argue their case. The tally widened Herring’s lead.
In addition to the concerns already voiced about provisional ballots in Fairfax, the head of their electoral board, Brian Schoeneman, has admitted that he accepted provisional ballots without the proper signatures. The following exchange appeared on Brian’s twitter page on Monday, prior to his third appearance on the Rachel Maddow show.
Question to Brian,
I remember seeing a tweet that the FFX Board had accepted provisional ballots that did not have a signature? Is that right?
Brian Schoeneman’s response,
Yes, there were about a dozen. We followed SBE’s guidance from October 23 regarding missing info on prov. ballot envelopes
How many other provisional ballots in Fairfax were accepted without the proper information? With an extra four days to pour over those ballots, four days that voters in other areas did not get, how many more questionable votes in Fairfax were counted that were not counted in other areas of the state? I suggest that the state recount begin in Fairfax county. Voters in that county had an advantage over voters in all other areas of the state. How could that be fair, or legal?
If problems are found in Fairfax, if the counting of their votes is proven to have been faulty in a manner that could have effected the outcome of this election,
Virginia law also provides for an unsuccessful candidate to “contest” the election, based on “specific allegations which, if proven true, would have a probable impact on the outcome of the election.”
That sends the disputed election to the majority Republican General Assembly, which would meet in joint session.
We know that provisional ballot voters in Fairfax were treated differently than all other voters in the state. That could be a basis for a challenge to the election. In the end, we may all be thanking Brian Schoeneman for his mishandling of the provisional ballots in Fairfax county!