Delegate Pogge (R-96). Delegate Pogge has prefiled three bills, including one to allow magistrates throughout the state to issue search warrants. In practice this could reduce the argument or excuse for warrantless searches. A second bill repeals the tax on hybrid vehicles imposed in the last session and a third seeks to protect agritourism activities from local bans.
Senator Norment (R-3) has entered bills to establish the General Assembly schedule .
More to come as the 2014 session gets underway.
Although the recount is complete and Mark Obenshain has conceded, a brief on the recount process is in order. First, kudos are owed to the electoral board and registrar and the officers of election who carried out the recount. They conducted this tedious and difficult task professionally and punctually. Second Mark Herring is due congratulations on his election as Virginia’s next Attorney-General.
The process of feeding paper ballots back through the reader is time consuming and uncomfortable. The development of some sort of ballot feeder would have mad this task much easier.
The process uncovered the ballots which were under votes. On examination most of these under votes were just that, blank ballots for this race. Only about 1 in five of the under voted ballots were actually marked. The mark sense machine only reads ballots where the ‘bubble’ to the left of the candidate’s name has been marked. These ballots were not read because they were marked in some other way. Either the party label (D) or (R) was filled in instead, or the candidates name was circled or underlined. I cannot explain the voter inattention which led to these marking errors, but they cost the state a considerable amount of money and time.
The recount for Attorney-General is now set for December 16 and 17. The recount will be conducted in each locality under the supervision of the local Board of Elections. The boards consist of three members, two Republicans and one Democrat. Observers from each party are also authorized for each recount team. In James City County four observers are authorized for each party. In localities where mark scan ballots can be recounted by machine, the method is to feed the ballots back through the counters, then hand review ballots kicked out for under or over votes. In other localities all of the ballots will require manual review and count. This could get interesting.
At a hearing regarding the recount the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the possibility of a contest following the recount was raised. A contest request would be a request to the General Assembly to decide the election. Even more interesting.
Incumbent supervisor James Icenhour requested a recount for his reelection race in James City County. The recount was completed yesterday and challenger Kevin Onizuk was confirmed the winner of this contest by 30 votes out of 5,338 cast. Three votes were added to each side during the recount. Statewide total votes for Governor exceed those for Attorney-General by 28,033 and 180 in James City County which uses mark scan paper ballots. While there is traditionally some drop off in voting down ballot, the difference still is fruitful grounds for finding undervotes during a recount. These mark scan ballots when rescanned will be kicked out for hand examination to determine if a vote was actually cast. Given that the undervote difference in James City County alone exceeds the total AG race statewide difference of 165 votes the chance for this particular recount to be controversial may be high.
While the election results for Attorney-General remain uncertain pending the recount, the results for Governor and Lieutenant Governor are final. The VirginianFederalist is relaunched to follow the AG recount, the newly elected administration, and the new session of the General Assembly.