Recount in progress: Resolution in sight for Virginia attorney general race
RICHMOND, Virginia: On November 25, 2013, the Virginia State Board of Elections certified the results of the state attorney general race and declared Mark Herring (D) the winner. According to the certified vote totals, Herring defeated Mark Obenshain (R) by 165 votes out of 2.2 million cast. A publicly-financed recount is currently underway, and live updates are being posted to this google tracking spreadsheet for anyone who is interested in following the recount's progress more closely. Judge Beverly W. Snukals, will oversee the recount court, which will examine the new totals submitted by localities starting this past Monday before announcing the final result on December 19.
If Herring survives the recount, he will be the first Democrat to control the office in almost two decades. If, however, Obenshain is ruled to be the rightful successor to current attorney general Ken Cuccinelli (R), the recount will have prevented a complete partisan overhaul of Virginia's top-tier executive branch in favor of the Democratic Party.
Under state election law, the trailing candidate can request a recount if the margin of victory is less than 1 percent. If the margin is over half a percent, the candidate must pay for the recount. Local election boards had until November 19, 2013 to certify their results and pass them onto the Virginia State Board of Elections, who faced a November 25 certification deadline.
A recount in race for Attorney General is not without recent precedent - in 2005 now-Gov. Bob McDonnell ran for the office against Creigh Deeds. The first result showed McDonnell with a victory of 323 votes, out of over 1.9 million votes cast. Deeds went on to file for a recount, which began on December 20, 2005. After preliminary figures revealed 37 additional votes for McDonnell, Deeds conceded, giving McDonnell a 360 vote margin of victory.
In the event of a recount, elections officials double-check and re-add totals from voting machine records. During the 2005 recount, the returns from nine precincts were also examined by hand. The recount cannot take place until after the vote is certified by the Board of Elections. Once that occurs, the apparent losing candidate has ten calendar days to file a recount petition with the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond.
The recount court, which determines the procedures of the recount, consists of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court where the recount petition was filed and two other judges appointed by the Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Virginia. The court then appoints recount officials to represent the respective parties to the recount. Once all the votes cast are recounted, the court certifies the candidate with the most votes as the winner.
- Mark Obenshain orders recount of Virginia attorney general race
- Vote totals continue to shift in race for Virginia Attorney General
- Race for Virginia Attorney General remains too close to call
- State executive official elections results, 2013
- Virginia state executive elections (overview):
- Virginia State Board of Elections, " Election Results – General Election – November 5, 2013," accessed November 25, 2013
- Washington Post, "Herring wins Virginia attorney general race, elections board announces," November 25, 2013
- Blue Virginia, "Attorney General-Elect Herring: "I look forward to serving the people of Virginia as Attorney General," November 25, 2013
- USA Today, "Virginia attorney general race heads to recount," November 27, 2013
- Watchdog Virginia, "Undervotes loom large in AG recount bid," November 27, 2013
- The Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Obenshain lawyer raises possibility of contesting AG race," December 10, 2013
- Politico, "Mark Obenshain to request recount in Virginia attorney general race," November 26, 2013
- NYTimes.com: "A Virginia Recount Would Not Come Soon," November 8th, 2006
- MSNBC, Virginia Attorney General race still in limbo, November 7, 2013
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- Virginia State Board of Elections, " Virginia Recounts and Contests – the Basics," accessed November 6, 2013