What on earth is this?!? Are these people serious? (UPDATE 2:13 pm: the Daily Press quotes Fairfax County Electoral Board secretary Brian Schoeneman (R) that “the ballots were locked in the precinct carts, so no one could have accessed them,” so they “were still secure.” Looks like Obenshain’s camp is flailing around for anything, pretty much)
In response to ballot security problems recently discovered in Fairfax, Mark Obenshain, by counsel, submitted a motion for the Court to help give voters confidence in the integrity of the process. Virginia law requires counted and unused ballots to be transported to the Clerk not later than the day after the election. The certification filed by the Fairfax Clerk shows that election materials, including counted and unused ballots, remained unprotected by the legally-mandated security measures for nearly a month after the election. The certification reveals that some counted ballots as well as some unused ballots were not transported to the Clerk’s office until after the statutorily-required deadline, with ballots transported on multiple dates, including on November 13, November 20, November 26, and December 5. To date, moreover, the campaigns have yet to receive certifications – which were due last Friday – from many localities, rendering it impossible to ascertain if there were divergences from legally-mandated security measures elsewhere in Virginia.
In the motion regarding special procedures for Fairfax County and other non-compliant jurisdictions, it is noted that, “The role of a recount is to ascertain the true count the ballots cast in the election. This is a task that cannot be performed without knowing that the ballots presented to the recount officials are, in fact, the same ballots that were cast in the election and that no ballots have been added or deleted.”
Speaking about the motion, Obenshain Counsel William H. Hurd said, “Given the ballot security problems recently discovered in Fairfax, as well as the possibility of other departures from law in other jurisdictions, we are looking for clarity and transparency in what happened. Our goal remains to ensure that every legitimate vote is counted, and that Virginia voters can have confidence in the result.”
The full three-judge Court will convene today, Monday, December 9 at 1:00 p.m. at the Richmond Circuit Court — Courtroom 311 to dispose of any motions and to set the procedural rules for the recount. The preliminary hearing was held on Wednesday, December 4 before The Honorable Beverly W. Snukals. The preliminary order delivered last Thursday is available online at this link. The petitioners’ motion regarding outstanding procedural issues filed Friday by counsel for Mark Obenshain is available at this link. Judge Snukals ordered the recount to begin in Fairfax on Monday, Dec. 16 and in the rest of the Commonwealth on Tuesday, Dec. 17.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia has designated a three-judge panel to oversee the recount:
The Honorable Junius P. Fulton, III, Judge of the Fourth Judicial Circuit
The Honorable Joseph W. Milam, Jr., Judge of the Twenty-second Judicial Circuit
The Honorable Beverly W. Snukals, Judge of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, designated Chief Judge in place of Chief Judge Bradley B. Cavedo
The Obenshain legal team, represented by William H. Hurd, Stephen C. Piepgrass, and Anne Hampton Andrews will be available following the hearing to speak with members of the press.