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Video: Reactions to Decision of Judge to Not Order New Election in Virginia’s HD-28

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Thanks to the amazing, apparently omnipresent Stair Calhoun for the video (see below) from just a few minutes ago. Great job covering this decision, which found that what happened in HD-28 was not (in the words of Del. Mark Levine – see first video, below) a “systemic problem,” but instead that the “disenfranchisement of 147 people, the denying 86 people the right to vote, along with the illegal placement of 61 ballots…that don’t belong there was a garden-variety thing…even though they’ve known about it since 2011 and didn’t fix it in 2012 or 2013 or 2014 or 2015 or 2016, it’s not a systemic problem he said, it’s just a…repeated accident that happened again and again and again…He basically found that if election officials make mistakes, unless it’s intentional, no big deal.” Argh. On the other hand, we did pick up 15 seats this election, an amazing accomplishment we can all feel great about, and came soooo close (but yet so far).


  • Dave Webster

    Reagan appointee Judge Ellis
    won’t order a special election in a million years especially not after Thomas is seated. Cole should have contested this in the General Assembly. Lowell, who is the guy in the first video?

    • LaureenMT

      That is Mark Levine, member of the House of Delegates from Arlington/Alexandria.

      • Dave Webster

        Thanks Laureen. Levine appears to have gone nutso. I told him previously Simonds motion for reconsideration wouldn’t work and also predicted Ellis wouldn’t order a new election.

        • Even if you think the chances of Ellis ruling in our favor was only around 10 percent, that was still an infinitely greater chance then Josh Cole winning an election contest from the Republican majority of the House of Delegates. The chances of Cole persuading the Republican majority to voluntarily give up power was precisely 0.00000000% plus or minus 0.

          It would be far more likely for lightning to strike the House of Delegates and kill everyone of us. The House contest procedure is really quite simple: the candidate from the minority party always loses.

          Judges are not always fair. And increasingly, judges are all too often partisan, but sometimes judges strive to get it right. The Republican majority in the House of Delegates will vote for the Republican candidate 100 percent of the time. The facts of the election contest are entirely irrelevant.

          And while I really don’t like ad hominem attacks, let’s just say that if you don’t understand this very basic political reality, you are sorely misinformed or, to use a word I saw above, “nutso.”

          • As unfortunate and even infuriating as the situation is, do you think there are enough Cole votes among those 147 disenfranchised voters to make up Thomas’ 82-vote margin? I’m not seeing the math here, necessarily…

          • This happened in at least four precincts. Not just one. My understanding is that the places where voters were disenfranchised were heavy Josh Cole districts.

            Plus, let’s not forget that 55 absentee ballots were also not counted. I have heard there were witnesses who saw them in the mail room of the building where registrar Riddlemoser refused to count them and not at the Post Office, as he claimed.

            I suspect Riddlemoser will not be registrar for very long. Good riddance to a horrible public servant.

          • Are those 55 absentee ballots still being contested in the courts?

          • Ben Tribbett

            “Are those 55 absentee ballots still being contested in the courts?”

            No.

          • Dave Webster

            The reason I said nutso was because of your wild gesticulations. Not because of what you said. It is quite possible that a contest in the General Assembly might have come down to a party line vote but Judge Ellis made clear that he wanted to see all state options exhausted before he intervened to impose a federally mandated special election. I don’t know how Cole’s lawyers missed that. If Cole had done the right thing and asked for a contest under 24.2-803 and had the General Assembly refused to order a special election, which I posit was possible, Judge Ellis might have ordered a special ejection.

          • If Cole had asked for a contest, there was only one possible result:
            1) Ellis would have dismissed the suit immediately,
            2) Thomas would have been seated, and
            3) Cole would have lost the contest a month later on a party-line vote.

          • The fact that you said, “a contest in the General Assembly might have come down to a party line vote” shows you are woefully ignorant of the practical realities of how the Virginia General Assembly functions.

            Or more likely, you do get it but are trying to lie to others to trick them into believing your B.S.

            I’ve read your other posts.
            You’re a Trumpist. I get it.
            Lying is what Trumpists do.
            It’s like breathing.
            You know you’re wrong but lie anyway to get or maintain power.
            It’s also what followers of Kim Jong Un do.

            But let no one be fooled by taking you seriously.

            That would indeed be nutso.
            And would deserve some pretty wild gesticulations.

          • Dave Webster

            I told you on a post on Paul Alan Friedman’s Facebook page the Motiom for Reconsideration would fail. I suppose I could get a screenshot of it if you actually don’t remember my statement to you. Your assertion that Ellis would have immediately dismissed the case if Cole had filed a contest is patently absurd in light of Ellis’s statement he was willing to consider Federal intervention after the state law remedies, including a contest, had played out. I am not sure where this Trumpist allegation comes from. I don’t post pro Trump comments on my Facebook page although I did recently share a post from a Facebook page run by Afhgani nationals who were pleased President Trump criticized Pakistan.

        • You “told me”? How? I have no recollection of that.

          But predicting that Republican judges will ignore the law and find for Republicans is not exactly a brave prediction.

          Pardon me for hoping that judges would follow the law and the Constitution instead of their political leanings.

    • Del. Mark Levine.

  • Ken Boddye:

    This evening, I attended the scheduled hearing which is part of the Lecky vs Virginia State Board of Elections lawsuit. This suit is part of an ongoing fight by voters in House District 28 (which encompasses parts of Stafford, Virginia​ and Fredericksburg, Virginia​) who were disenfranchised by a series of voting irregularities.

    As recap, the Virginia Department of Elections​ issued a report stating that 147 people received ballots for the wrong House District in the HD-28 race.
    – 61 people from HD-28 were given ballots for HD-88
    – 61 people from HD-88 were given ballots for HD-28
    – 25 people from HD-28 were given ballots for HD-2

    In addition, both HD-28 and HD-88 had a candidate with the last name of Cole. In HD-28, Joshua Cole for Delegate​ is the Democrat running, while in HD-88 Mark Cole for Delegate​ was the Republican seeking re-election. There were split precincts in play as well (areas where voters from two different districts vote at the same voting location.) In one case, a couple who lived in the same house (and thus live in the same district) were given different ballots!

    We have later found out that after some of the voters confronted election officials on election day after realizing they got the wrong ballot, some of those very same election officials took down a map voters could have used to verify which district they lived in. Worse yet, it is now clear that there have been voter assignment issues for this particular district since 2015 at the very least, as Speaker Bill Howell brought up irregularities he encountered back then.

    Rev. Joshua Cole​ declined to contest the election on the state level, particularly because this issue is about the voters in House District 28, not him specifically. Moreover, if a federal remedy had been found (like ordering a Special Election), there would have been no reason to continue the state-level contest.

    Unfortunately, the Judge in the case tonight did not rule in favor of the voters. Without going too far into the legalese, he didn’t feel that those representing the voters came up with enough evidence to show that the problems were severe or wide-spread enough to warrant federal interference in the matter. The crux of the argument made by the other side (including the lawyers representing Bob Thomas for Delegate​, who defeated Joshua on election day) is that the irregularities are of a “garden variety.” Basically, the problems were small and arose from human and system error, not on a large scale or with the intent to disenfranchise.

    Let’s take this last moment to reflect on that last part. Taking out the legal perspective of the argument (which I will agree the judge did a good job of explaining,) the Republicans here essentially argued that there was no reason to stop Bob Thomas from being seated because there wasn’t ENOUGH disenfranchisement; that there weren’t ENOUGH voters they were wronged to warrant action taken by the judge.

    This comes literally a day after a drawing was done to determine the winner of another district because these same folks argued that an overvote needed to be counted because each vote is sacred.

    Let that sink in.

    • Gene Church

      I did. Congratulations Bob Thomas.