Va. to certify election results, trigger recount requests

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WASHINGTON — Virginia’s State Board of Elections is due to certify the results Monday morning of the Nov. 7 races that provided sweeping victories for Democrats up and down the ballot.

The certification Monday will allow at least three Democratic candidates in tight house of delegates races to file for recounts. If the recounts do not change any results, Republicans will control the new house of delegates by a 51-49 margin.

“The State Board has to certify before anybody can request a recount,” said Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner Edgardo Cortés.

Recounts are governed by a three-judge panel that includes the chief judge of the circuit court where the recount petition is filed.

“For these recounts that look likely to happen, ours is more of a support and advisory role for locals. They are going to be the ones conducting the recounts at the local level. They are the ones that have the ballots. They’ll be bringing in the staffing to do it. It’ll be happening at their local courthouses,” he explained.

Changes to vote tallies during recounts often focus on ballots that may have been marked in unique ways other than simply filling in a bubble. Other issues, such as faulty math or transposed numbers, have typically already been caught during the canvass process in the first days following an election.

State election officials provide an additional set of eyes on any potential problems and double-check that all updates have made it into final tallies before the state board certifies results Monday morning in Richmond.

“This is the postelection process. After every election we do this. And the point of doing all this due diligence after the election is to make sure that the final certified results are accurate … and that the will of the voters was reflected,” Cortés said. “When there are close elections, people pay a lot closer attention to it, but it’s something that we do after every election.”

There is no dispute that Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam was elected governor, Justin Fairfax was elected lieutenant governor, and Mark Herring was re-elected as attorney general.

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Newly elected Va. delegate Roem goes to AMA with Demi Lovato

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WASHINGTON — Newly elected Virginia delegate Danica Roem attended the American Music Awards Sunday with singer Demi Lovato.

Demi Lovato, Danica RoemPeople magazine reported that Lovato was inspired by Roem’s win and invited Roem to the awards to be her date.

Roem, a journalist, defeated Republican Del. Bob Marshall in Virginia’s 13th District, which includes parts of Prince William County and Manassas Park. Roem, who carried 54 percent of the vote, made history as the first openly transgender elected official in Virginia history.

Marshall, who calls himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe,” introduced Virginia’s version of the so-called “bathroom bill,” refused to debate Roem and referred to her using male pronouns.

Lovato told the New York Daily News that she wanted Roem to join her because Lovato’s performance is about bullying and Roem has “put up with so much bullying.”

Lovato performed her hit “Sorry Not Sorry.” She told NPR that the song was written with school bullies in mind.

Watch a music video of “Sorry Not Sorry.”

Editor’s Note: This video may contain explicit language. 

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Tear up the planks! Poe statue in Virginia to be relocated

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Officials in Virginia are relocating a statue of Edgar Allan Poe.

The Poe statue will nevermore be located on the southwest corner of Capitol Square in Richmond. Instead, it will be located on the northwest corner.

The state’s Department of General Services says the move ensures Poe won’t be overshadowed. Planned monuments to Indians and women are being added to the southwest corner, and their scale would diminish the Poe statue.

On the northwest corner, Poe’s statue will be surrounded by statues of similar size.

The move is expected to occur this week.

The statue honoring the author of “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” has been in Richmond since 1959.

Poe was born in Boston but lived for many years in Richmond.

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The highest wind gusts in Virginia and Maryland

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WASHINGTON — The D.C. area experienced high gusts of wind Sunday morning, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a wind advisory.

The National Weather Service has since canceled the wind advisory.

Meanwhile, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was under wind restrictions which have since been downgraded to wind warnings. Some roads have been blocked by fallen trees and poles, and many are still without power due to the strong winds.


Get the latest road conditions from WTOP’s Traffic Center.


The National Weather Service recorded the maximum wind gusts in counties in Maryland and Virginia, observed in the last 23 hours.

Maryland

  • Anne Arundel County: 49 mph
  • Baltimore County: 53 mph
  • Carroll County – 46 mph
  • Fredrick County: 51 mph
  • Howard County: 46 mph
  • Marford County: 45 mph
  • Montgomery County: 49 mph
  • Prince George’s County: 48 mph
  • Washington County: 51 mph

Virginia

  • Arlington County: 48 mph
  • Berkeley County: 53 mph
  • Fairfax County: 46 mph
  • Fredrick County: 46 mph
  • Grant County: 48 mph
  • Loudoun County: 52 mph
  • Mineral County: 52 mph
  • Nelson County: 55 mph

Get the latest weather conditions from WTOP’s Weather team.


Below is a map of the areas affected by the power outages.

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Loudoun Co. police: Beware of blinds and shutters scam in area

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WASHINGTON — Suspects claiming to be with a business that installs blinds and shutters have been scamming Loudoun County, Virginia, residents.

The scammers claim to be with a now-closed business called Economy Blinds and Shutters, which has been closed since 2016, police say.

The suspects are reportedly going to people’s homes to take measurements and offer an estimate on the desired blinds or shutters. Residents are then required to pay a deposit for the materials, but never hear back or receive a service, according to a news release from the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.

Anyone who has been victim to this crime should contact Detective. C. Pickrell of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Financial Crimes Unit at 703-737-8947. You can also submit a tip through the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office app.

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2 from Virginia make the list of Rhodes scholars

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ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Two Virginians are among the newest batch of Rhodes scholars.

Both are from northern Virginia: Simone Askew of Fairfax is a senior at the U.S. Military Academy, and Matthew Chun of Arlington is a senior at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Askew is an international history major. Chun is majoring in mechanical engineering and management science and is captain of his school’s wrestling team.

Askew made headlines in August when she became the first black woman to lead the Corps of Cadets at West Point as First Captain.

The two are among 32 in the U.S. chosen as Rhodes scholars. Their scholarships cover postgraduate studies at Oxford University in England.

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Transurban: 495 Express Lanes save drivers millions of hours

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WASHINGTON — The 495 Express Lanes are marking their fifth anniversary. Transurban, the company that built and manages the toll lanes, says they are saving millions of drivers millions of hours.

Transurban says it’s had 3.5 million customers making 67 million trips in the toll lanes over the past 5 years. The company estimates that the Express Lanes have saved customers more than 5 million hours.

“We’ve seen not only time saving for customers in the 495 Express lanes, but also for customers in the regular lanes too. We’re seeing reduced travel time in those regular lanes on 495,” said Mike McGurk, spokesman for Transurban.

But the time saved for drivers may depend on exactly how far the driver must travel.

“A driver from (I)-95 to (I)-66 might say they save time, but a driver who heads north of the Dulles Toll Road would perhaps beg to differ,” WTOP Traffic’s Dave Dildine says.

The problem is the express lanes end before the American Legion bridge in Maryland. So while drivers save time farther south on the Beltway, they can get routinely stacked up north of Tyson’s Corner if they’re bound for Maryland.

“A lot of traffic gets shunted north of the (Dulles) Toll Road toward the northern end of the 495 Express Lanes, and that’s where you find a lot of unhappy campers in both the main and the Express Lanes,” Dildine said.

Transurban uses dynamic toll pricing to manage traffic flow — the higher the demand for the toll lanes, the higher the price — and that’s been a bone of contention among some drivers, some of whom derisively call the Express Lanes, “Lexus Lanes.”

“We’ve seen tolls approach $30 on the Express Lanes during peak periods, and just the sight of a $30 toll, especially for a 9 or 10 mile trip, that’s enough to make a lot of folks’ blood boil,” Dildine said.

Transurban says the Express lanes have been a boon for car poolers and bus passengers.

“Carpool trips on the 495 Express Lanes, comparing our first year to our fifth year, we’ve seen those increase by more than 4 times. We’ve seen the bus trips increase-compared to year one to year five, 75 percent more bus trips,” McGurk said.

Transurban also says that in the past five years, the Express Lanes have helped first responders more quickly reach people in need.

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FBI joins search for 3 Prince William County teens

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WASHINGTON — The FBI and Prince William County police are asking for the public’s help in locating three missing and endangered teens who may no longer be in Virginia.

An investigation reveals the girls left the Bristow area of Prince William County voluntarily on Nov. 12 at around 2:30 a.m. Originally, they were listed as runaways but on Friday, police upgraded their status to missing-endangered.

Ashley Lemus, Breonia Thomas and Chamareya Wright are believed to be in a small, silver SUV, possibly a Honda-CRV. The following descriptions were provided by the FBI:

Lemus, 17, is described as a Hispanic girl with brown hair, brown eyes and several tattoos on her chest, arms and wrists. She was last seen wearing a black Nike sweatshirt and gray leggings.

Thomas, also 17, is described as a black girl with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a multicolored romper and a purple bandana on her head.

Wright, 18, is described as a black woman with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a sweatshirt and dark-colored leggings.

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Anyone with information is urged to call Prince William County police at 703-792-6500 or the FBI at 202-278-2000. Tips can also be submitted to the FBI online.

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FBI joins search for 3 Prince William County teens

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WASHINGTON — The FBI and Prince William County police are asking for the public’s help in locating three missing and endangered teens who may no longer be in Virginia.

An investigation reveals the girls left the Bristow area of Prince William County voluntarily on Nov. 12 at around 2:30 a.m. Originally, they were listed as runaways but on Friday, police upgraded their status to missing-endangered.

Ashley Lemus, Breonia Thomas and Chamareya Wright are believed to be in a small, silver SUV, possibly a Honda-CRV. The following descriptions were provided by the FBI:

Lemus, 17, is described as a Hispanic girl with brown hair, brown eyes and several tattoos on her chest, arms and wrists. She was last seen wearing a black Nike sweatshirt and gray leggings.

Thomas, also 17, is described as a black girl with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a multicolored romper and a purple bandana on her head.

Wright, 18, is described as a black woman with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a sweatshirt and dark-colored leggings.

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Anyone with information is urged to call Prince William County police at 703-792-6500 or the FBI at 202-278-2000. Tips can also be submitted to the FBI online.

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Troopers make arrest after chase reaches speeds of 130 mph

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NEW KENT, Va. (AP) — A Richmond man has been arrested after police say he approached 130 mph (209 km/h) on a Virginia highway trying to elude a state trooper.

Virginia State Police say the trooper attempted to pull over 33-year-old Derrell Keith Williams on eastbound Interstate-64 in New Kent County about 1:30 a.m. Saturday after seeing him swerve across the center line.

When troopers activated their siren, they say Williams sped off in a black Lincoln, accelerating to 130 mph and turning off his headlights.

Police say he almost hit one car before getting out of his car and running off. He left the car in drive and forced it into an embankment.

Police caught up with Williams on foot and say he had cocaine in his possession and a handgun in the car.

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