Virginia Recount Update

Virginia House Democratic Caucus
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 9:54 pm

Update on where we stand in the three elections yet to be called in Virginia.

HD-40: Our candidate, Donte Tanner, currently trails by 106 votes. This race had two discrepancies found, which erased an earlier Democratic lead and allowed the Republican candidate to claim the lead. As Donte currently trails by 0.36% of the vote, given the earlier discrepancies, the campaign is assessing options and can legally request the recount. However; he must wait until the election is certified on November 20th.

HD-94: Our candidate, Shelly Simonds, currently trails by only 10 votes! Given the incredibly close margin (0.04%), Shelly will request a recount once the election is certified on November 20th.

HD-28: This one has gone a little haywire. According to the current tally, our candidate, Josh Cole, trails by 82 votes (0.30%). Now there are two issues in this vote, one of which we have already filed suit in federal court over.

Issue 1 is that 55 absentee ballots that should have properly arrived on Election Day did not. We’re not sure entirely where the system broke down, but it did — we think these 55 voters followed the rules and got their ballots in on time but for some reason were not counted. Earlier this week, we filed suit in federal district court asking the court to order these 55 ballots be counted. We do not know if these are Democrats or Republicans — all we know is that every voter who followed the rules should have their vote counted — and we intend to see that happen.

Issue 2 in HD-28 is something that is unheard of. There appears to be an issue with three split precincts in the city of Fredericksburg. (A split precinct is where some voters in that precinct are in one house district and other voters in another house district.) It looks as if 668 ballots were cast in HD-88 that should have been cast in HD-28. If this is correct, is would mean that 668 citizens, both Republicans and Democrats, in HD-88 and HD-28 were not given the ability to cast their ballot in their appropriate district. Our attorneys have submitted a letter to the State Board of Elections seeking more information and we will review their response before deciding if legal action is necessary.

Let me be very clear about three things:

1) It is critical to our democracy that these three election results be 100% verified as accurate. The voters of the Commonwealth deserve to have confidence that when they cast their ballot, it counts.

2) The House Democratic Caucus is paying 100% of the cost for these legal bills, for work done to verify ballots and for any recount expenses. Even if it means taking on debt, we will not allow these candidates to be concerned about these expenses. If you wish to help pay these expenses, you can contribute here:

3) The House of Delegates currently stands at 49 Democrats and 48 Republicans. Winning just one of these three races throws the House into a tie situation — winning two of the three gives us a Democratic majority.

– Trevor Southerland
Deputy Executive Director
Virginia House Democrats