I was on a conference call this afternoon with the Herring campaign, updating reporters on the status of the “recount.” First, here’s an update from Mark Herring for AG campaign manager Kevin O’Holleran:
*Attorney General-elect Herring has been meeting with former Attorneys General and attorneys from around Virginia about issue areas he will confront when he becomes Attorney General in early January 2014.
*Plans for inaugural events are in the works, more details coming soon.
Now, here’s an update from Herring Legal Counsel Marc Elias:
*As a result of the canvass, which was very thorough, Mark Herring came out with a lead of 164 votes. Then, the State Board of Elections certified that Mark Herring won the election by 165 votes. So “we have now been through two counts…and both of them have confirmed the same thing, which is that Mark Herring won this election, and simply received more votes than Mr. Obenshain.”
*We are now in the “recount, the last and final piece of the counting process.”
*”We have spent the last week or two trying to work collaboratively where we could with the other side and then ultimately with the court to…conduct an orderly recount.”
*”We remain completely confident that at the end of that process, it will reconfirm what we already know, which is that Mark Herring won the election and will be the Attorney General.”
*The Herring campaign has done its “own version of a canvass,” by gathering all the voting records available from around the state, and “we remain completely confident in the integrity of the process to date, and we see nothing that would cast any doubt on the election returns that…we are likely to see confirmed next week.”
*The counties will begin (and likely finish) recounting on Tuesday, except for Fairfax, Chesapeake and Alexandria, which will begin on Monday (because they “simply need more time to complete the recount”).
*The process will be transparent, with election observers there to see what’s going on, “so that people have confidence” in the process. Those observers will not be participants, for instance to lodge challenges, but are just there to observe.
*There can be inspection and copying of poll books during this process.
*The Herring campaign is organizing its team of observers, so it can track what’s going on in the recount and to share information with the public. “I am confident that we will have full coverage of all of the places we need to be with the appropriate personnel.”
*The court will begin hearing and resolving any challenges to ballots on Wednesday of next week so that it will hopefully conclude its work by COB [next] Friday (although there is a possibility it could get done by Thursday).
*We expect that the process will move smoothly, nothing we’ve seen to date that suggests that it won’t.
*We’re not sure exactly how many ballots will need to go to court to be reviewed. Could be anywhere from a handful to hundreds.
*With regard to suggestions that not all the ballots in Fairfax County were properly secured and that this could be used as a pretext for a possible challenge by Obenshain’s campaign, Elias said it’s telling that the court “didn’t bite” on that alleged issue in Fairfax, so it may have just been a “trial balloon” by the Obenshain folks, and now it seems to have “fallen by the wayside.”
*The Obenshain team seems to have been pushing for “a number of things that seem less aimed at effecting a recount and more that operate under the assumption that they will not prevail in the recount.”
*Whether the Obenshain team is doing any of this with an eye towards contesting the election is “something that you’d have to ask them.”
*Most likely, the Obenshain team is “seeing what we’re seeing, which is that this was a very well-run election, and that there is no reason to believe that the election results are going to change as a result of this recount.”
*”I am not worried that anything in the poll books is going to provide a basis for a challenge in the recount or otherwise.”