There’s an interesting new legal development this afternoon (see audio and partial transcript below) in the ongoing saga over the election in Virginia HD-94, which Democrat Shelly Simonds led by one vote after the recount was concluded, but then changed to a tie after the three-judge panel overseeing the recount decided to accept a ballot for Republican David Yancey that had NOT been counted for him in the recount. Now, we’ll have to see what the court decides, and also what the State Board of Elections opts to do regarding the tiebreaker (pulling a film canister with a candidate’s name inside out of a glass bowl – seriously!) scheduled for tomorrow at 11 am. Never a dull moment here in Virginia, eh?
Shelly Simonds: “This is such an important issue for the state of Virginia. I stand by the results of the recount on Tuesday. I believe it was a fair process guided by rules. It was a
citizen led process conducted by local people with years of elections experience and it was a transparent process conducted in public view, but my opponent didn’t like the outcome so he made an end run around the clear rule of the recount and that was a violation of Virginia law, it was a violation of the terms of the court order that we had almost all agreed to and it was contrary to State Board of Elections guidance. So at the end of the day this really is about the integrity of elections in Virginia and one of the interesting things in the motion that we have filed today is that really the court should not have reviewed the ballot in question. This really is a key principle guiding recounts, because without it recounts would become a never-ending spiral of courtroom challenges.”
Ezra Reese of Perkins Coie: Filing a motion of reconsideration…more formal brief with the court…three arguments…”One that the court made a mistake to consider the letter in the first place. Second that the court made a mistake in opening that box and counting a ballot for the third time. And third that once they decided to do so they made the wrong decision as of the disposition of that ballot, especially with regard to the State Board of Elections and especially now that we know the State Board of Elections indicated that there actually isn’t any guidance in their own guidance, in their own handouts, that indicates that ballot should have been counted…This wasn’t just a violation of the statute and the guidance, it was also a very clear violation of the court’s own order. And what is odd about that is it’s particularly in violation of the reliance on the State Board of Elections guidance and on the principle that the recounts only recount ballots in precincts once.”