Judge denies Dem request to certify uncounted ballots in Virginia

Judge denies Dem request to certify uncounted ballots in Virginia
© Moriah Ratner

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled against a Democratic request to have the Virginia Board of Elections certify uncounted ballots that could affect the results in two House of Delegates races, The Washington Post reports.

As many as 300 or so voters appear to be assigned to the wrong races, but it is unclear how many of those people voted in the Nov. 7 election, according to the report.

“The job of the board is to certify the count,” Virginia District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III reportedly said in a hearing conducted over the phone. “Let the state process run its course.”

His decision is a blow to the efforts of Virginia Democrats, whose aim to win the majority of seats in the chamber may rely on having the results in just one of the two seats certified.

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But the judge did leave an opening for Democrats to challenge the results by allowing the lawsuit stand, The Post reported. This would let them return to court to dispute the outcome and request a new election after the Virginia Board of Elections finishes its certification process.

“We don’t have a clear picture, exactly, of the scope of the problem,” Ellis reportedly said.

Republicans had reportedly tried and failed to get the case dismissed.

The state board of elections had previously delayed certifying the election results in two Fredericksburg-area House races, the 88th and 28th districts.

The state board of elections, which delayed the certification over concerns about voting irregularities, is now reportedly expected to meet Monday.

State elections officials claim 83 voters in Fredericksburg, Va. were mistakenly assigned to vote in the 88th House District rather than the neighboring 28th District, which may be the key to tipping the balance of power in the Democrats' favor.

In the 28th District, Joshua Cole (D) trails Bob Thomas (R) by 82 votes, a ballot margin that could be overcome in the recount, or if uncounted ballots are cast in support of Cole.