Virginia House recount underway; could affirm GOP majority

Dec 1, 2021, 11:04 PM | Updated: Dec 2, 2021, 6:59 pm

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Election officials were painstakingly recounting votes late into the night Thursday in one of two unresolved races in Virginia that will settle whether Republicans have reclaimed the majority in the state’s House of Delegates and completed a party sweep of last month’s contests.

Representatives from both the Republican and Democratic parties took part in the secondary counting of ballots requested by Democratic Del. Alex Askew, who currently represents the 85th House District. The district covers a portion of the city of Virginia Beach.

Askew and fellow Democratic Del. Martha Mugler of the 91st District requested recounts after certified results from the Nov. 2 election showed their GOP challengers leading by razor-thin margins.

Republicans — who won 52 districts, according to the certified results — have said they are confident their candidates’ leads will hold.

The recount in the 91st District, which covers the cities of Hampton and Poquoson, and York County, was expected to take place next week, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Throughout the day Thursday, a few dozen people packed into a room in the second floor of an elections building in Virginia Beach as the ballots were fed into the two scanning machines. Groups of four or five people sat at a handful of tables and looked at any ballots that were determined by the machines to have write-in candidates, were not clearly marked or had some other issue.

By midafternoon, the group had worked through the vast majority of the approximately 20,000 ballots cast in person on Election Day, and only one ballot had been designated for a challenge.

Officials also had to recount all of the city’s early-voting and mail-in ballots — about 54,000 — to ensure that they had accounted for all of the approximately 8,000 such ballots that were meant for the 85th District. Jeffrey Marks, the GOP chair of the city’s electoral board, said he hoped that process would conclude by midnight.

Any irregularities from those ballots were expected to be sorted through Friday morning, Marks said, before both sides will present challenge ballots to a three-judge panel. The judges will decide how each challenge ballot should be counted.

If the recounts confirm the Republicans’ victories in both the 85th and 91st Districts, it will mark a GOP sweep in last month’s election, when its candidates claimed the statewide offices of governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Those wins were a dramatic turnaround in a state where the GOP had not won a statewide race since 2009.

Virginia’s top elections official, Chris Piper, has said the recounts are unlikely to change the outcomes of the races because of the size of the margins. If both Askew and Mugler were declared winners through the recounts, the House would be tied 50-50, forcing Democrats and Republicans to hash out a power-sharing agreement.

Askew went into the recount trailing Republican Karen Greenhalgh by 127 votes out of 28,413 counted. Mugler trailed Republican A.C. Cordoza by 94 votes out of 27,388 counted. The Associated Press hasn’t called either race.

Both Mugler and Askew are incumbent freshmen who were first elected in 2019, when Democrats flipped both the House and Senate.

Recounts in Virginia are not automatic and must be requested. Because the margins in the Askew-Greenhalgh and Mugler-Cordoza races were under 0.5%, the costs will be covered by the state.

___

Rankin reported from Richmond, Virginia.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani, right, the former lover and business partner of Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holm...
Associated Press

Jury takes fraud case against Elizabeth Holmes’s ex-partner

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The fate of hard-nosed technology executive Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani is now in the hands of a jury that will weigh criminal charges alleging he joined disgraced Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, his former partner, in an elaborate fraud that jarred Silicon Valley. U.S. District Judge Edward Davila handed the case to […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Airline merger: Frontier sweetens offer for Spirit Airlines

Frontier Airlines on Friday added more cash and a larger breakup fee to its offer to buy Spirit Airlines, and the Spirit board repeated its preference for Frontier over a rival bid by JetBlue Airways. Frontier added $2 in cash to its previous offer of $2.13 in cash and 1.9126 shares of Frontier for each […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Carnival shares cruise higher on gains in revenue, bookings

MIAMI (AP) — Long-battered shares of Carnival Corp. jumped more than 12% Friday as the cruise line owner reported a big increase in revenue, occupancy levels, and bookings for future trips. However, the company posted a $1.83 billion second-quarter loss and said the effects of the pandemic and higher fuel prices will lead to another […]
16 hours ago
FILE - United States women's national soccer team member Alex Morgan, left, listens as teammate Meg...
Associated Press

Athletes react to the Supreme Court’s abortion decision

U.S. national soccer team star Megan Rapinoe expressed her anger Friday over the Supreme Court’s decision to strip the nation’s constitutional protections for abortion, decrying an erosion of rights that women have had for a generation. “I think the cruelty is the point because this is not pro life by any means,” said Rapinoe, who […]
16 hours ago
FILE - United States women's national soccer team member Alex Morgan, left, listens as teammate Meg...
Associated Press

Athletes react to the Supreme Court’s abortion decision

U.S. national soccer team star Megan Rapinoe expressed her anger Friday over the Supreme Court’s decision to strip the nation’s constitutional protections for abortion, decrying an erosion of rights that women have had for a generation. “I think the cruelty is the point because this is not pro life by any means,” said Rapinoe, who […]
16 hours ago
The exterior of the Orlando Museum of Art is seen where artist Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings were ...
Associated Press

FBI seizes disputed Basquiat artwork from Florida museum

The FBI raided a Florida art museum on Friday and seized more than two dozen paintings attributed to artist Jean-Michel Basquiat following questions about their authenticity. Orlando Museum of Art spokeswoman Emilia Bourmas-Fry said in a statement that they were complying with a warrant from the FBI for access to the ‘Heroes and Monsters’ exhibit, […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
Virginia House recount underway; could affirm GOP majority