|RICHMOND, Va. – Following release of a report that 147 people cast a ballot in the incorrect House of Delegates District in the HD-28 race, Virginia House Democrats have called on the State Board of Elections not to certify the election when the entity meets this afternoon in Richmond.
Perkins Coie attorneys Marc Elias and Jonathan Berkon, who represent the Virginia House Democratic Caucus, noted in a letter sent by email last night to the State Board that the entity has a statutory obligation to certify that election results are correct. Elias and Berkon concluded that “the Board may not certify results that it knows to be incorrect; doing so would plainly violate the statute.”
The report, which was issued by the State Board of Elections on Friday, revealed that “at least 384 voters are improperly assigned and at least 147 voters voted in the incorrect House of Delegates election in the 2017 General Election.”
According to the report, the number includes 61 voters who reside in the 88th District who voted in the 28th District race, 61 voters who reside in the 28th District who voted in the 88th District race, and 25 voters who reside in the 28th House District who voted in the 2nd District race.
The current margin separating Democratic nominee Joshua Cole from Republican nominee Bob Thomas is only 82 votes.
The Washington Post noted that in one of the affected precincts in which HD-28 voters were incorrectly assigned to HD-88, “68 percent voters went for Hillary Clinton and 27 percent went for now-President Trump.”
“Voting is a fundamental right, yet at least 147 people were deprived of the right to vote for the delegate who is to represent them,” said House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano and Caucus Chair Charniele Herring. “That number is nearly twice the current margin separating the two candidates in HD-28, which is why we urge the Board not to certify this election. Doing so would be the equivalent of throwing those ballots in a box and burning them. As Democrats, we will always fight to ensure that every voice is heard, regardless of which way those votes may go.”
House Democrats picked up at least 15 seats in a wave election this month, with the outcome of three races (including HD-28) still pending. HD-40 and HD-94 remain in recount territory. The majority is in play, and control of the chamber could turn on any one of these races.