Today’s stunning events, providing a generation of voters (and door knockers, post-card writers, phone callers) the bluntest “every vote counts” example, should turn our eyes north — to the 28th District where the Democratic Party candidate, Joshua Cole, is behind the Republican by 82 votes. On Thursday, the 28th will go into a recount. An 82-vote margin, with fighting over every questionable ballot, is a huge margin to make up with a total of under 24,000 votes.
No matter who ends up top in Thursday’s recount, the situation won’t be settled in what can, politely, be called an extremely troubled election situation.
- There were 55 absentee ballots ‘stuck’ in the Post Office that, due to no fault of the voters, ended up not making to the polls in time and thus were not counted. Decisions have been made … and those votes will never be counted and those voters were disenfranchised.
- Multiple dozens of voters were mistakenly issue ballots in the wrong House District (back and forth between the 28th and 88th Districts) (147 erroneously cast ballots) with another 237 mis-assigned voters not voting due, perhaps, to that confusion over registrations.
As the Washington Post editorial board put it, “Virginia’s House election is irreparably tainted” and they argued that this is a situation demanding a special election … or, as they put it, a “do-over”.
After Thursday’s recount, this will be in the court-room … and, well, the stakes are high for what could well be a special election.
With that in mind, the Cole campaign requests that:
Readers should stay continue to watch the court proceedings and if a special election does occur we will need volunteers and support to mobilize voters for the new election.
Today’s recount created a split House of Delegates. The massive energy that will be put into supporting Cole in a special election could well see that turned into a Democratic Party majority in the House of Delegates when the legislative session opens.
Update: Believe it simplest just to add in ChrisLM’s thoughtful comment to the post:
This is a great summary of next steps – but there is another key component (right after the HD28 recount but before the outcome of the lawsuits) which is that Joshua Cole should file a contest of his election results per Virginia Election Code § 24.2-803 (“Contest of election to General Assembly”). The contest needs to be filed within 3 days of his recount which is this Thursday 12/21 – so this will be before the results of the lawsuits are known which won’t be until January. Assuming that the contest would then be decided by a House vote, they could decide an election do-over given that the House would be 49/50 in Dems’ favor (not counting Cole’s opponent now seating in but who presumably wouldn’t be able to vote if there is contest for his own seat). Unless the house vote is done by the “old house” with old makup of 66/34.
The election code is very vague on how the House would decide. It just says: “The house, in its judgment, may find for the contestant and declare him elected, find for the contestee and confirm his election, or declare the election void and order a writ of election” [another election].