Republican State Senator Mark Obenshain is turning to a special court that includes the chief Richmond Circuit Court judge … to aid him in a ballot recount of the closest statewide race in modern Virginia history. Although his Democratic opponent, Mark Herring, has been certified the winner in the Attorney General's election by a 165-vote margin, Obenshain and his team believe there's a chance that votes were missed or might be invalidated.
Although this recount is reminiscent of the 2005 Attorney General's race, Obenshain attorney Steven Piepgrass says it will be handled differently—under a new state law passed since then which requires more votes to be re-tabulated.
"All optical scan ballots will be re-run and then any ballots that are spit out by the optical scan machines will be counted by hand, so that it is a major difference from past recounts."
Republicans have taken issue with the last-minute discovery of two-thousand absentee ballots in Fairfax County, a stronghold for Democrats—and of the extra time provided there for counting provisional ballots. Until then, Obenshain had held a significant lead. His other attorney, Ashley Taylor, addresses that
"I anticipate that as the process evolves, that we will have, frankly concerns about the handling of ballots in that jurisdiction and others, but it would be premature to single out that jurisdiction or a single argument."
Herring says it's Obenshain's right to request a recount. But in a statement, he says very few statewide races in the U.S. have been overturned by a recount—and even in the 2005 A-G recount, the margin of victory only changed by 37 votes.