Va Attorney General race: Mark Herring widens lead

7:49 AM, Nov 13, 2013   |    comments
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FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA9) -- With all the votes now counted in what looks to be the tightest statewide election in Virginia history, Democrat Mark Herring has the lead by 163 votes over Republican Mark Obenshain.   

Herring has 1,103,778 votes and Obenshain has 1,103,615 votes.

Herring expanded his lead by the slim margin after the very last votes were counted Tuesday night from 271 provisional ballots.  

The Fairfax County Electoral board extended what's called the adjudication process, where they allow people who filled out provisional ballots on Election Day to come in and defend their ballots. 

Out of 489 provisionals, 218 were rejected.  The process took five days, lasting right up until the midnight deadline. After the ballots were opened, the three board members fed the ballots through optical scanning machines. 

Before those 271 ballots were approved, the Republican representative before the board voiced objections. Miller Baker said the voters were not all being treated equally, and that Fairfax County voters received preferential treatment over other counties because the process was extended.

The board is made up of two republicans and one democrat. Secretary Spokesman Brian Schoeneman, a republican, said the process was fair and that they got it right. 

"We have followed the letter of the law," said Schoeneman. 


Statement From the Fairfax County Electoral Board released at approximately 11:12 p.m. Tuesday:

"After a lengthy process that began on Friday, Nov. 8, we announced this evening that 271 of the provisional ballots from the Nov. 5 general election were approved. However, two of the approved ballot envelopes were empty.

The ballots were voted on optical scan machines by the three Congressional Districts in Fairfax County - the 8th, 10th and 11th.

The result of the voting of approved provisional ballots for attorney general was 160 votes for Mark Herring and 103 votes for Mark Obenshain. In the 86th House of Delegates race, the voting of approved provisional ballots for Tom Rust was 3 votes and Jennifer Boysko was 6 votes.

Throughout the provisional ballot review, the Electoral Board has followed the letter of the law as we understand it, even when we disagreed with the guidance we were given. We gave all voters the benefit of any reasonable doubt and we are confident that the voters of Fairfax County, thanks to our transparency and willingness to give them every opportunity to be heard, felt that their vote really counted. There were 159 voters who came to the Government Center to defend or check on the status of their provisional ballot. The rejection of ballots was based on weighing our internal staff research, outside evidence, information provided by the voters and the credibility of the information presented to us, and in every situation we followed the letter of the law. Every ballot was adjudicated on its own merits, as required by law.

The Electoral Board sincerely thanks the Office of Elections and county staff for their hard work and commitment during this process. We also sincerely thank the citizens of Fairfax County and the commonwealth, both political parties, as well as the candidates for their patience as we worked to get it right.

We are now working to certify the results by tonight's deadline."


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