Virginia Again Delays Vote Certification After Error In Ballot Distribution

By Rebecca Feldhaus Adams NPR

Updated at 9:44 a.m. ET Wednesday

Election Day results in two high-stakes races for the Virginia House of Delegates remain unresolved after claims of ballot mix ups that listed incorrect candidates in some districts.

The Virginia Board of Elections voted Monday to delay certification of results in the neighboring 28th and 88th districts, after the ballots of 83 people in the Fredericksburg area were assigned to the wrong House district.

Virginia Democrats are arguing that mix-up secured the 28th district for Republicans, as the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, which is currently represented by retiring Virginia House Speaker, Republican William J Howell and where”Republican Bob Thomas leads Democrat Joshua Cole by 82 votes.”

The Times-Dispatch continues:

“Depending on the scope of the error, the issue could bring special elections as Republicans try to hold onto a 51-49 majority after getting hammered Nov. 7 in a wave election that saw Democrats pick up at least 15 House seats.

” If that district’s outcome were to flip, the House would have a 50-50 party split.”

The paper also notes, that it’s unclear of how many of the 83 actually cast ballots.

In a statement, the state’s Democratic caucus called the decision “judicious” and called it an acknowledgement “that at least 83 people were mis-assigned in the system and thus possibly disenfranchised from voting in their appropriate house district.”

“We are currently assessing our legal options and will release another statement should we take further action,” read the statement.

State Republicans, however, criticized the decision.

“We think this is an attempt to steal an election,” said John Whitbeck, chairman of Virginia’s Republican Party as reported by member station WAMU.

Monday’s decision comes nearly two weeks after Virginia Democrats “pulled off a stunning series of victories in the House of Delegates, where Republicans have had a nearly two-thirds majority,” as NPR’s Sarah McCammon reported at the time.

“They turned out voters in key areas like the Washington, D.C., suburbs. And they made history by electing a transgender woman and even a self-proclaimed Democratic socialist, among others, to the legislature,” said Sarah.

Virginia’s Board of Elections originally planned to reconvene for a vote on the certification Wednesday morning. The vote was the only action item on the docket. Late Tuesday night, it announced that the meeting was postponed to next Monday.

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