|Election Day at Mason Crest Elementary School in Annandale.|
Republican attorney general candidate Mark Obenshain requested a statewide recount because the Nov. 5 election results were so close. Out of a total of 2,212,281 votes cast statewide, the Democratic candidate, Mark Herring, won by just 165 votes. The Virginia State Board of Elections certified the results Nov. 23, declaring Herring the winner.
In Fairfax County, Herring, a state senator from Loudoun County, got 61.03 percent of the vote (184,963) versus 38.74 percent (117,425) for Obenshain, a state senator from Harrisonburg.
The chief judge of the Richmond Circuit Court will preside over the statewide recount process and is expected to announce the rules for the recount on Dec. 4.
During the recount, each locality will review the tapes from electronic voting machines and refeed paper ballots through optical scan machines. In some other localities, it’s easier to recount the votes manually, due to the type of voting machine used. Of the approximately 712,000 ballots to be run through optical scanners again, over 300,000 are in Fairfax County, Schoeneman said.
He said election officers will pay particular attention to “undervotes,” where the machine rejected a ballot because it wasn’t completely filled in, and “overvotes,” which occur when a voter selected more than one candidate for the same office. Those ballots, along with provisional ballots that had been accepted by the county electoral board, will be counted by hand.
The last time Virginia had a statewide recount was in the 2005 attorney general race, when Robert McDonnell (R) beat Creigh Deeds (D) by 360 votes. Those candidates faced off again in 2009 when McDonnell was elected governor.