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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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