Saturday, November 9, 2013

Is the Virginia attorney general race headed to court?

Mark Herring (D)

Mark Herring (D)

UPDATE: Mon., Nov. 11, 4:30 p.m. Richmond corrections have added to a Herring lead of 115. Fairfax County and more provisionals yet to be accepted and counted.

The legal arguing could come down to an “and” versus an “or” in Virginia State Code.

As of 8:00 p.m. Saturday night the Virginia State Board of Elections indicates a 55 vote advantage for the Republican attorney general candidate Sen. Mark Obenshain over his Democratic opponent Sen. Mark Herring. However, there has been subsequent observers in Fairfax who put it as close as 15 votes.

Both campaigns in emails soliciting funds to pay for attorneys Obenshain’s says, “We need to make sure that every legitimate vote is counted.” Herring’s emails focus on, “getting out the word on provisional ballots … making sure every vote is counted.”

Over the objections of a majority of the Fairfax Elector Board there will be no representation for provisional ballot voters not appearing in-person to argue that their vote is valid. This is looking to be a legal argument that could take the results to court for determination.

A legal opinion is expected to be sought by the sitting attorney general Ken Cuccinelli who just happens to be the defeated Republican candidate for Virginia’s governor. Another conflict of interest situation that muddies the water.

zMark_Obenshein 071bw

Mark Obenshain (R)

Virginia law states: Notwithstanding the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.), attendance at meetings of the electoral board to determine the validity of provisional ballots shall be permitted only for the authorized representatives provided for in this subsection, for the persons whose provisional votes are being considered and their representative or legal counsel, and for appropriate staff and legal counsel for the electoral board.

The Fairfax County Electoral Board still has 493 provisional ballots to sort through. They have extended the time that these voters have to secure their votes as valid through Tuesday. By law the Fairfax County Board of Elections must certify their results SEVEN days following the election.

After Tuesday the “lawyering” on both sides will commence. Both Mark Obenshain (R) and Mark Herring (D) are soliciting funds for attorney fees. A recount is a given. It will be paid for by the state since it is a certainty that the final results will be less than a margin of .5%.

As Dave Wasserman, editor of the Cook Political Report stated in an appearance on NBC12 with Ryan Noble, “The only certainty is that Virginia’s new attorney general will be named Mark.”

To read the Fairfax County Electoral Board statement CLICK HERE.

The State Board of Elections will meet to certify the results of the November 5, 2013 election on Monday, November 25, 2013. See recount rules. Virginia Election Recounts and Contests – 2013 Information and Timeline (PDF)

In the unlikely event the results end in a tie the General Assembly (with a super Majority of Republicans) will decide the winner.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2013, Elections, Politics, State Politics

Tags: , , , , ,


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