WAMU 88.5 : News

Recount In Virginia Attorney General Race To Be Unlike Any Previous Effort

Play associated audio
Mark Herring says that he's Virginia's attorney general-elect, but Republican Mark Obenshain isn't yet ready to concede.
(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Mark Herring says that he's Virginia's attorney general-elect, but Republican Mark Obenshain isn't yet ready to concede.

Adding up the votes in the hotly contested race for attorney general in Virginia — Democrat Mark Herring is ahead of Republican Mark Obenshain by just over 160 votes of 2.2 million cast — will be about more than numbers.

As registrars across the commonwealth prepare for a recount in the race, one thing is becoming becoming clear — this recount will be unlike any other statewide recount in Virginia history.

"I think it's true that most people, when they envision a recount, they think of Florida and holding up ballots looking for hanging chads or counting each individual ballots one by one, and that was, you know, old technology," says Alexandria registrar Tom Parkins.

In Virginia, everything old is new again. Paper ballots were replaced by electronic machines that have now been replaced by… paper ballots. And unlike the last recount for the attorney general race back in 2005 — in which the candidates were separated by just over 300 votes — this recount will actually feed all those paper ballots back through the machines again.

Flipping through her record of the last recount in 2005, Arlington County registrar Linda Lindberg says that eight years ago, none of the paper ballots were fed through the machine again. Instead, the numbers that were reported to the state were crosschecked with the numbers that were reported from the precincts. This time, she says, things will be different.

"It's probably likely, based on the type of motions that the campaigns would make to the court, that we might be required to program the scanners so that they separate the undervotes," she explains.

Several years ago, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation to encourage paper ballots. That means that more and more jurisdictions have been doing away with the old electronic systems, and that means more paper ballots to check. Most of the action will be with the undervotes


An Eater's-Eye View Of Literature's Most Iconic Meals

With intricately composed photographs, designer Dinah Fried puts readers at the table for 50 of her favorite literary spreads. Her new book is called Fictitious Dishes.

California Farmers Finagle A Fig For All Seasons

Two growers are competing to harvest fresh figs earlier and earlier in hopes of transforming the industry for year-round production. But some fig lovers say they can hold out for summer fruit.

Report Decries A Cozy Relationship Shared By DHS And Watchdog

A Senate panel released a report Thursday that criticizes the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security. It accuses him of repeatedly compromising his independence.

Tech Giants Pony Up Cash To Help Prevent Another Heartbleed

Google, Intel and others say they will now financially support the open-source software that encrypts much of the traffic on the Internet. The effort follows the discovery of a key security flaw.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.