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Roanoke Free Press
Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Obenshain holds off on conceding, Herring declares victory in Virginia attorney general race

UPDATE: Brian Schoeneman, Secretary of Fairfax Electoral Board: “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.”

It was not unexpected that following the Fairfax County provisional ballot Democrat Mark Herring’s unofficial lead is 163 votes. It was also not unexpected that Republican Mark Obenshain would wait for certification by the Virginia State Board of Elections and not concede

After certification by the SBE Obenshain is expected to request a recount. With the margin being less that .5% the state will pick up the tab. Few if any votes change during recounts. During the Fairfax County Board of Elections provisional count Tuesday night Republicans challenged the time extension that the FCBE gave provisional ballot voters to argue that their vote should be counted. There were 271 accepted provisionals but when opened a few green envelopes were empty. A few had to be hand-counted. The scanner spit out the result as 67-34 in Herring’s favor in Fairfax County’s 8th district.

Mark Obenshain statement Tuesday night: 

Mark Obenshain

Mark Obenshain

“At this stage, we are in the closest statewide election in Virginia history. The State Board of Elections currently estimates a difference of fewer than 200 votes out of more than 2 million votes cast. That’s less than 1/100th of a percent difference. With the completion of the canvass of local boards, we have finished two of the three automatic steps of vote counting. The State Board of Elections will now conduct its own review, scheduled to be complete November 25th. We owe it to the people of Virginia to make sure we get it right, and that every legitimate vote is counted and subject to uniform rules. We have seen significant swings in the vote count over the last several days as errors are corrected as a part of the regular canvass process. The State Board of Elections will now conduct its own review and we will await their results. I thank our dedicated election officials who have put in long hours and given great care to their duty. We will make further announcements in the days ahead.”

Mark Herring statement:

Mark Herring

Mark Herring

Mark Herring has won the race for Virginia Attorney General. After a thorough and complete canvass, Herring defeated his opponent Senator Mark Obenshain.

“Voters in Virginia have spoken, their voices have been heard and I am honored to have won their votes and their trust to become Virginia’s next Attorney General,” Attorney General-elect Herring said. “Over the course of the past week, a thorough and extensive process has ensured that every vote has been tallied and accounted for. The margin was close, but it is clear that Virginians have chosen me to serve as the next Attorney General.

“Today we begin the process of governing. I look forward to working with Virginians from all regions and all background, Democrats, Independents and Republicans to move our Commonwealth forward,” Attorney General-elect Herring added.

Following the vote canvass – a process overseen by bipartisan Boards of Elections in every locality, as well as volunteers and official observers from both parties to audit the voting process and ensure votes are tabulated correctly – Herring came out ahead of Obenshain.

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