How a recount works in Virginia

How a recount works in Virginia

How a recount works in Virginia

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on November 6, 2013 at 1:45 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 6 at 1:55 PM

RICHMOND -- Mark Obenshain, a state senator from Harrisonburg, leads Democrat Mark Herring, a state senator from Northern Virginia, by an ever-changing thin margin of votes in the race for Virginia Attorney General. 

The Republican candidate is preparing for a potential recount. 

There have been two previous recounts in Virginia.

In 1989, Wilder defeated Coleman; Wilder was certified the winner with 6,854 votes more than Marshall. The recount reduced the total by 113 votes and Wilder was declared the winner 6,741 votes more than Coleman.
 
More recently, in 2005, McDonnell was certified the winner of the attorney general's race with 323 votes more than R. Creigh. The recount increased McDonnell’s votes by 37 votes and he ultimately won with 360 votes more than Deeds.

The State Board of Elections provides the following information about recounts: 

CAN A RECOUNT BE CALLED?
 
1.  There are NO automatic recounts within the Commonwealth of Virginia.
A recount can only be called for by a losing candidate once the results have been certified by either the Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) or local electoral board.
 
2. For candidates on the ballot, only those that lose by a margin equal to or lesser than 1% of total ballots cast for those two candidates may petition for a recount.
 
3.  For write-in candidates, only those candidates losing to or as a write-in by a margin equal to or lesser than 5% of the total ballots cast for those two candidates may petition for a recount.
 
4.  For a ballot question, when the difference between the votes for and against the question are not more than 50 votes or 1% of total votes cast for the question, whichever is greater, a recount can be petitioned for.
A petition must be circulated and signed by 50 or more voters qualified to vote on the question.
 
WHO CERTIFIES THE RESULTS OF THE ELECTION?
 
1.  SBE certifies candidates for the following positions:

  •     General Assembly
  •     Governor
  •     Lieutenant Governor
  •     Attorney General
  •     Members of the United States Congress
  •     Electors of President and Vice President
  •     Officers shared by more than one county or city

 2.  Electoral Boards certify all positions that are not certified by the SBE.
 
3.  SBE certification for the November 2013 results will take place on November 25, 2013.
 
4.  Local Electoral Board certifications will begin on November 6, 2013 and must be completed by November 12, 2013.
 
WHEN AND WHERE ARE PETITIONS FOR RECOUNT SUBMITTED?
 
1.  Petitions must be submitted within 10 days of certification of the results.
 
2.  Petitions are filed in the City of Richmond Circuit Court when:

  •     Statewide office
  •     Statewide referendum
  •     Presidential election

3.  Petitions are filed in the circuit court of the locality in which the challenged candidate resides when:
    All non-statewide offices
 
4.  Petitions are filed in the circuit court of any locality comprising part of the election district when:
    Non-statewide referendum
 
WHO ESTABLISHES THE RULES OF THE RECOUNT?
 
1.  The SBE establishes standards for:

  •     The proper handling and security of devices, ballots, and recount materials
  •     What objective evidence determines a valid ballot
  •     Other matters that will promote accurate and timely resolution of the recount

 2.  The Chief Judge of Recount Court determines:

  •     Sufficiency of security measures that have been previously followed, and security procedures  needed for the recount
  •     Location of the recount

 3.  The full Recount Court determines:

  •     Procedures to determine accuracy of votes
  •     The validity of all questioned ballots and votes
  •     The final certification of the election being recounted
  •     The ruling of the court is FINAL (no appeals)

 WHAT CAN BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT DURING A RECOUNT?
 
1.  The following cannot be considered during a recount:

  •     Certain ballots
  •     Absentee ballots ruled invalid or not cast in the election
  •     Provisional ballots ruled invalid or not cast in the election
  •     Ballots cast for test or administrative purposes, ruled so by the officers of election
  •     Ballots spoiled by voter and replaced with a new ballot
  •     The eligibility of any voter

 2.  The following can be considered during a recount:

  •     Whether votes considered valid during the canvass should have been ruled invalid
  •     Whether a ballots considered overvotes or undervotes were tallied correctly

 WHO BEARS THE COST OF THE RECOUNT?
 
1.  The county/city comprising the election district bears the cost when:

  •     The candidate challenging the results is declared the winner after the recount
  •     The petitioners in a recount of a referendum win the recount
  •     The final margin between the candidate challenging and the candidate winning the recount is not more than ½ of 1% of the total votes cast for the two candidates prior to the recount.

 2.  The candidate challenging the results or the petitioners in a recount of a referendum bear the cost in all other instances not previously listed.
 
 

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