I just got off a conference call with Marc Elias, chair of the Perkins Coie political law practice, to discuss the post-election canvass process. Here are a few key points:
*Mark Warner is up by more than 12,000 votes, the state is now undertaking the normal county canvass process in preparation for certifying their results to the State Board of Elections.
*Generally speaking, Virginia has very clean elections, and therefore “we tend to see very very little movement in the canvass process…nothing that will threaten Senator Warner’s lead.” If anything, “we tend to see Democratic candidates in general gain votes during that process.”
*Jurisdictions also need to deal with “provisional ballots,” in which Democrats almost always gain votes (certainly was the case in the Mark Herring recount).
*At the time this process is finished, the expectation is that Senator Warner’s lead “will be confirmed, will probably increase from where it is now…he will be declared the winner by the state…and be sworn in for a second term. There is nothing we have seen so far in the process…that suggests anything other than” that.
*The Warner campaign is monitoring the canvass returns and will do so the rest of the week.
*”There is really no precedence for a lead of this magnitude changing over the course of either this process or any other recount process that Mr. Gillespie might consider. The margin here is close but it’s not small. This is a close election but it is not a small lead, it is a sizeable lead…12,000 ballots.”
*The goal for the next week is to make sure that every Virginian who cast a lawful ballot is counted accurately.
*At the end, “I am 100% certain that Senator Warner will be reelected and be sworn into the Senate for a second term.”
*There is no reason to think that reported problems with touch-screen machines would serve as the basis for a recount and certainly not a contest. “You show me a state that has DRE machines, which are the touchscreen machines, and I’ll show you a state where someone someplace is able to say that the DRE wasn’t calibrated 100% correctly.” Same thing with optical scan machines.
*”I’m not sure there’s any precedent anywhere in the country for a 12,000-vote lead…to lead even a plausibly successful recount, no less an actually successful recount…I am 100% certain Mark Warner will be certified the winner.”