Yesterday lawyers for Mark Herring and Mark Obenshain argued before a three judge panel in Richmond about the rules governing the recount in the race for Attorney General, a position also known as Almost Governor, because it the most common stepping stone to the Governorship of Virginia.
Mark Obenshain’s lawyer, William H. Hurd, hinted that the campaign might consider contesting the race results, throwing the race to the General Assembly, when he argued that they might need more time past the December 23rd deadline to review the results. He also suggested that Mark Herring’s lawyers might also want to do the same if they should lose the recount.
Hurd also mentioned more problems that have arisen with ballots in Faifax county. From the Washington Post,
Hurd also floated new questions about how ballots were handled in Fairfax County and raised the specter that ballots in the state’s largest jurisdiction would be vulnerable later this week. He said a power outage scheduled to accommodate repair work would disable the electronic locks on the safe holding Fairfax ballots.
Hurd raised new questions about how the election was handled in Fairfax County, which was previously the subject of Republican complaints because of shifting poll numbers and the fact that some voters who cast provisional ballots in the heavily Democratic county were given more time than voters in other parts of the state to prove that their ballots should be counted. Fairfax officials alerted both campaigns over the weekend that all ballots were not transferred from polling places to the circuit court clerk’s office the day after the Nov. 5 election as required by law, with some arriving as late as Dec. 5. Obenshain’s attorneys asked the panel to set aside those votes; the judges declined to do so, instead encouraging Hurd to get more information from Fairfax and to come back if he still thought there was a problem.
Brian Schoeneman, Secretary of Fairfax Electoral Board, said those votes were accidentally locked in large carts with the voting machines but the votes were always secure.
Attorney Hurd disagreed with that assessment. From the Roanoke Times:
Hurd also expressed concerns with the “integrity” of the electoral process in Fairfax County after reports that “election materials, including counted and unused ballots,” remained unprotected by the legally mandated security measures for nearly a month after the election.
Hurd asked the court to set aside these ballots — possibly thousands — to not be tallied in the recount until election officials in Fairfax provide an explanation. “We need to find out what happened,” Hurd said after the hearing.
The recount will begin in Fairfax County, Alexandria City, and Chesapeake City on December 16th with the rest of the state beginning their recounts the following day. The three judge panel hopes to announce the results by December 20th.
More details on the recount rules from VA Lawyers Weekly.