With 164 Vote Attorney General Victory, Virginia Democrats Sweep State

The difference between a vote cast and a vote counted was nowhere clearer than in the Virginia race for attorney general

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Cliff Owen / Associated Press

Democratic Va. Attorney General candidate Mark Herring speaks with reporters about the vote count in his election during a election night party in Tysons Corner, Va., Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013.

Updated at 12:12 p.m.

The difference between a vote cast and a vote counted was nowhere clearer than in the Virginia race for attorney general. A week after Election Day, Democrat state Senator Mark Herring proved victorious over Republican state Senator Mark Obenshain by a margin of 164 votes out of over 2.2 million cast, according to the Virginia State Board of Elections unofficial online tally. Localities had until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday to report numbers to the state.

The outcome followed a series of rapid lead changes: there were at least three swings in the first 24 hours after polls closed. As Election Day ended, state Republican Party Chairman Pat Mullins released a statement toasting Obenshain. “Let me be the first to congratulate . . .” he began. A few hours later, Herring announced he “looked forward” to working on behalf of Virginia after taking a “several hundred vote lead.” Five days later, as the provisional ballots continued to be counted, Obenshain woke up with a 17-vote edge, only to go to sleep down by 117 votes. “The margin was close,” Herring wrote in an understated public statement Tuesday night, “but it is clear that Virginians have chosen me to serve as the next Attorney General.”

Virginia, a battleground state for everyone not named E.W. Jackson, would likely have provided a close contest between most two major party candidates. But the weeklong, Pong-like tallies contained other elements exacerbated by the slim margins, most notably faulty counting.

Episodes occurred in Fairfax and Richmond counties, two of the most populous in the state. Among other election observers, Michael McDonald, an Associate Professor of government and politics at George Mason University, found that absentee turnout from Fairfax didn’t match his prediction. While Brian W. Schoeneman, a Republican member of the Fairfax Electoral Board, protested through Twitter that all had been counted, upon further review, state election officials found that a tabulation machine had broken and the votes on a replacement machine weren’t counted. Around 3,000 votes were then reviewed, and a large majority went to Herring, who at that point was losing in the unofficial tally. “I don’t know if they would have caught it,” said McDonald, who joked that Schoeneman “is going to regret for all of his life” that “infamous tweet.”

In Richmond, state officials failed to enter more than 200 votes, throwing the aforementioned 17-vote lead for Obenshain to the razor-slim 117-vote margin for Herring. In this case, officials realized their mistake well before it hit social media.

These errors have an easier chance of being reported and caught by outside observers in Virginia, due to the state’s “unusually transparent” electoral process, according to McDonald, because the state releases not only overall numbers, but also breakdowns in how a vote is cast (including absentee) and in what precinct. That openness, combined with the high level of interest due to the closeness of the campaign, can lead to a messy, but effective evaluation.

“These are common errors for certification across the entire country,” says McDonald. “Usually you don’t get to see into the factory where the sausage is being made.”

Charles Judd, chairman of the Virginia State Board of Elections, praised the localities for doing a “very good job” while admitting “it’s a little unusual—the number of human errors that can occur with data entry.” Judd says that the election “appears to be the closest that anyone can remember.” In 2003, Gov. Bob McDonnell won the attorney general’s race over Democrat Creigh Deeds by 360 votes.

Judd told TIME that 80 to 85 percent of Virginia’s precincts use electronic touch screens and the rest paper scanners. Judd would prefer to replace the current system with one that would take a digital picture of the paper-scanned ballot, which would be helpful during recounts. He says it “could eliminate that step where a lot of human error occurs” as the digital picture could be exported to the database automatically.

Judd also has some choice words for the touch screens, which he says are 18 years old and aren’t made anymore. “We’re limping along with equipment that’s old and failing us some,” says Judd. “An upgrade is necessary.”

“That doesn’t have anything to do with how the results are tabulated, it’s just that it’s a maintenance challenge,” he added.

While one part of the election is over, the official re-canvassing effort won’t be finished until November 25. Virginia election law also allows Obenshain to request a recount since the margin is less than one percent, and the state will pay for it since the margin is less than one half of a percent. (The current margin, according to the Virginia State Board of Elections is .01%.) Obenshain did not concede Tuesday.

“We owe it to the people of Virginia to make sure we get it right, and that every legitimate vote is counted and subject to uniform rules,” wrote Obenshain in a public statement. “We have seen significant swings in the vote count over the last several days as errors are corrected as a part of the regular canvass process.”

McDonald says that a recount would verify electronic votes on memory cards and evaluate paper ballots to see if a voter made an error that would be devastating for their SAT score: circling, rather than filling in, the bubble.

The position of Virginia attorney general is usually a stepping-stone for a campaign for governor: McDonnell, as mentioned, was a former state attorney general, and Democratic Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner defeated attorneys general on their way to the Executive Mansion. Last week, current Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli lost to Democrat Terry McAuliffe.

Herring’s win marks the first time in over forty years that the Democrats swept all five statewide offices: both Senate seats, Virginia governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general.

Update at 12:12 p.m.

The article has been updated to reflect the latest information from the Virginia Board of Elections website.

59 comments
Constitutional.Reset
Constitutional.Reset

Dear Honorable Ken Cuccinelli, A.G. & Rightful Governor Elect:


Please consider that there is enough witness to evidence that voting machines have been hacked to make the Board of Elections retabulation of the voting machine totals not worth taking.
More importantly there is conclusive evidence of McAuliffe, Northam and accomplices 18USC1343 felony for the purpose of acquiring votes by artifice via TV & internet. For this last cause the Va. General Assembly has sufficient reason the throw-out the 2013 election results at least for Governor and Lt. Gov. and require a do-over with new Democratic candidates not having a disability to serve. 

The use of 13USC1343 felony by candidates also entails Va18.2-111/481(5) felony under the scope of Va1-248. 

There are hundreds of potential indictments so the potential obstructions of justice against the laws of man are not sufficient to save McAuliffe from presuming felony to be his right. 
God will ultimately have the last word on McAuliffe and Northam's presumptuous conceits.

Sincerely, Russell P. Davis 
Publisher of the "Journal of Constitutional Reset from Va" and having 13 known generations of ancestors in Virginia.

http://www.cuccinelli.com/contact-us/

Constitutional.Reset
Constitutional.Reset

Please contact your members of the Va General Assembly and communicate something like the following.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

If McAuliffe's legion of 18USC1343 felonies had been timely prosecuted by the FBI Ken would have won. 
And may yet still if because of McAuliffe's disability to serve due his and his posse's felonies the General Assembly does not certify the election such that a new election must be held. 

Terry 'Catfish' McAuliffe adopted 18USC1343 felony as his campaign strategy. 
No Virginia Republican appears to have been prepared for a candidate like Terry 'Catfish' McAuliffe . 
That can change. 
Never again in our lifetimes would Va experience a campaign like that of 2013. 

Voting fraud exists in 
A ) Voting illegally, 
B ) wrongly counting the votes and 
C ) the process of gaining (or attempting to gain) a person's voting choice by fraud or bribe. 
There are many counts with easily found conclusive evidence of C ). 
The remedy for C ) can be fast and easy. 
And build momentum for a remedy to A) and B ) 

ThomasHall
ThomasHall

First, as a Virginian and VMI graduate, I am delighted that Democrats regained the governorship and the AG's office that were so badly abused and corrupted under the GOP extremists and their regressive and abusive social fascism, lax gun laws, rollbacks on environmental protection, expanded, polluting natural gas fracking drilling, increased capital punishment executions, cut public education K-12 and college funding, expanded abuses on women's reproductive health, forced the closing of legal abortion clinics, etc.

Recall that under AG Cuccinelli, the GOP attempted to purge voter rolls to eliminate Democratic voters all under the AG oversight of course. Their were also a number of touch-screen voting machine irregularities like people voting for Democratic Terry McCauliffe in Northern Virginia finding their cast vote instead registered instead for Cuccinelli. 

Any Virginian or working class American voting for the GOP only hurt themselves, their families, and the rest of the 99%.

Conservationist
Conservationist

This article appears to contain an error which should be corrected.  It states: "Episodes occurred in Fairfax and Richmond counties, two of the most populous in the state."  Either the author is referring to the City of Richmond, in which case the reference to two of the most populous areas would be correct, OR if the error was actually in Richmond County (yes, it also exists and has no connection to the City of Richmond), the most populous comment would be incorrect as it applies to Richmond County.  Please fix this.

greynraney
greynraney

And guess who is still in charge of being AG?  Yes, Ken Cuccinelli.  The first AG in Virginia in 30 years to not step down while running for another office position....  The GOP just doesn't get it.

butch1227
butch1227

Funny..... pee party republicans are so inept, they couldn't even STEAL the election...!!!!  LOL...!!!

TerryClifton02
TerryClifton02

Keeping this election in perspective, the Democrats only carried 18 counties out of 95.

johndodd1944
johndodd1944

Odd, that they suddenly found a machine that wasn't counted. I even heard they found uncounted absentee ballots. All favor the democrat. Voter fraud or what??? 

JohnLutz
JohnLutz

Psssstttttt.....,

Dewey defeats Truman!!!!

Y O U  do know that there is an  A U T O M A T I C  R E C O U N T ..., don't you????

And  P L E A S E ..., use a  C U R R E N T  'photo' of herring next time you try to  S P I N !!!!

The Board of Elections will  N O T  E V E N  release a statement until  Nov. 25!!!!

Dannnngggggggggggggggg!!!!

quillerm
quillerm

Now we know why we need Voter ID.  This is Fraud.

ntrim
ntrim

So the Democrats have swept the Virginia elections and the loud-mouthed bullies of the Tea Party and the "Party-of-No" Republicans have been sent packing. Shut down the government, will you! Good riddance! 

Now we can relax, sit back, savor and watch as members of the Republican Party bully one another and continue to self-destruct.

What a bunch!


natalier
natalier

Washington Post headline "Mark Herring gets a leg up as race for VA attorney general has him at a 163 vote advantage" AFTER jerk Cuchinelli tried to impose new regulations for the counting of provisional ballots!!!!

HAH seems it just may backfire!!  LOVE IT completely unless Chuchinelli idiot tried to eat Democratic votes for dinner.  I hope he gets a good case of heartburn!  He kicked HIMSELF in the posterior.   GOOD Repubicrats deserve it in triplicate!!

KaJo503
KaJo503

Alex Rogers, activate your spellcheck.  You have a problem in this sentence:  "“The margin was close,” Herring srote in an understated pubic statement Tuesday night, “but it is clear that Virginians have chosen me to serve as the next Attorney General.”

It's the last sentence in the second paragraph above.

Soulice
Soulice

Well, the past administration has Virginia at #1 for businesses (in the nation), very low unemployment compared to other states and especially the national average, good average wage, strong economy.  An improvement from the way Tim Kaine left it.  Hope this new, smiling, Dem version of Mitt Romney does't mess things up.   Interestingly enough, the 12 point margin became 3 (and shrinking) with the ACA fiasco's.

mary.waterton
mary.waterton

It comes down to money. A hair-thin majority of Virginians get their paycheck from the Federal Government either directly or indirectly. Do a headcount of the DC commuter jobs, military jobs, contractor jobs, etc in the arch around the Washington corridor and along the Atlantic coast.

LeahPetersen
LeahPetersen

I bet this closely watched and carefully conducted recount will also offer interesting stats on in-person voter fraud (in other words, proving AGAIN that it's not happening.) Especially relevant since Virginia is set to have new voter ID laws go into effect next year. Though maybe Dems sweeping the state offices will make that go away.

sacredh
sacredh

"Herring’s win marks the first time in over forty years that the Democrats swept all five statewide offices: both Senate seats, Virginia governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general."

Thanks to Ted Cruz and the Tea Party for working so hard to elect democrats.

Constitutional.Reset
Constitutional.Reset

See the "Draft Sworn Application to Federal Grand Jury for Indictment of Terry McAuliffe on multiple counts of 18USC1343 Felony Perpetrated in His Ads 'Schools' and 'Bunch' ". The application is in a fully detailed pro forma indictment.


Other video ads containing likely 18USC1343 felonies that do not yet have a proforma indictment are available also. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RiCVictory2013/471270249652409/

Constitutional.Reset
Constitutional.Reset

@ThomasHall   So crony capitalists don't like Democrats like Terry McAuliffe, Eh?   Influence peddlers like Terry 'Catfish' McAuliffe give all the like folks a fair shake rather than a shake-down .  Consider the conclusive evidence that there were attempts to acquire votes by McAuliffe & crew's 18USC1343 'artice' of lies by TV and internet. 

That is voting fraud also. 
McAuliffe, Northam + need to be indicted and convicted. 
The General Assembly needs to call for a do-over of the 2013 election.

Constitutional.Reset
Constitutional.Reset

@butch1227 You are right at least to the degree that the Republicans did not steal the election.  
That is the Democrats' way.
McAuliffe & Northam's legion of 18USC1343 felonies are conclusively evidenced.

Constitutional.Reset
Constitutional.Reset

@TerryClifton02 
And even that 18 was by  fraud.  Plus more than enough votes acquired by the evidenced attempt at 18USC1343 felony by McAuliffe & crew to make the state total fall to the Democrats by McAuliffe and Northam's felony.

kritt
kritt

@TerryClifton02 We don't decide elections by the number of counties candidates carry -- what part of majority rule don't you get?

jj74594zxcvbnm
jj74594zxcvbnm

@TerryClifton02 DEM carried only 18 counties but this is where many people live vs GOP carried counties where more chickens than people


jj74594zxcvbnm
jj74594zxcvbnm

@johndodd1944 I was one of the dead voter fraud...I dig myself out of the grave and go to vote while my GOP friends too lazy to dig.

ThomasHall
ThomasHall

@quillerm Yes, so the GOP can suppress the Democratic vote. The 90% white GOP are on the wrong side of morality and demographics and have to lie, cheat, and steal to win elections. They lie about their positions as Romney/Ryan did in 2012, cheat with GOP elections-rigging gerrymandering and nationwide voter suppression efforts and steal with their GOP-SCOTUS'  Citizens United corruption of democracy with a flood of unlimited, usually anonymous, campaign funding by the rich, rich corporations, and rich special interests.

Voter suppression even under a study during Bush-Cheney is negligible as the GOP cannot even find example to present in their court cases in Texas, Pa., Fla., etc. However, the biggest example of elections fraud in 2012 was conducted by the RNC and the millions they spent on a GOP consultant hired to register voters and caught on camera destroying Democratic registrations and also submitting false names and addresses. The GOP were also convicted of multiple cases of false robocalls in Wisc. and Md. Remember, the GOP are the Watergate, Willie Horton ads, false political ads, and win at all costs dirty tricks party as reflected by the dishonorable GOP obstructionist tactics in Congress.

michaelcoppola13
michaelcoppola13

@quillerm Based on what?  That you don't like the outcome?

Since you apparently didn't actually read the article: note that the error in Fairfax was ultimately corrected by the REPUBLICAN chairman of the electoral board.   

And since you apparently don't know:  Virginia already has a Voter ID law in effect.

Finally, since you apparently don't think things through:   how would a Voter ID law prevent tabulation fraud?

johndodd1944
johndodd1944

@Soulice That is about to end. When the tax and spend Dems get in, no business will come anywhere near Virginia

DarenEastTexas
DarenEastTexas

@LeahPetersen Lets hope they do make VoterID laws go away, they are completely un-necessary.  Soulice and the rest of the baggers are sore losers.   Virginia, formerly solid red, is turning reliably blue.  North Carolina is not far behind.   Baggers will have Sarah Palin, and Ted Cruz to adore, not election victories to savor.

Soulice
Soulice

@LeahPetersen Just don't understand the issue with showing an ID to cast your vote as a citizen of the country?  You need an ID for so many things, this is at least as important as anything else.    And please don't say it harms or disenfranchises anyone.  Everyone to get out to a place to get an ID ONCE in a 365 day period.

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@sacredh I think this will become more common in all but the deep red states. 

Gerrymandering works fine for the republicans in the House (heck they can receive over a million fewer votes nationwide but still have the majority) but statewide races have candidates carrying the crazy weight on their backs.

Constitutional.Reset
Constitutional.Reset

The gist is that no future political campaign in Virginia will boldly lie as McAuliffe's.

================================ 
A law enforcement authority of the Commonwealth whether Inspector General, State Police, or Locality Commonwealth Attorney petitions a Va Federal Court 
Grand Jury for indictment of McAuliffe for his 18USC1343 felony. 

If officers of the Federal Court in Va block the petition "Resisting the execution of the laws under the color of its authority" as defined by Va1-248s application on federal law then those federal court officials are indicted in state court for Va18.2-111/481(5) felony.

ThomasHall
ThomasHall

@Constitutional.Reset @ThomasHall I was going to reply but Kenny Willimas pretty well covered it. Weren't both McDonnell and Cucinelli under a investigative cloud. There were also reports in North Va. of voting machines that McAuliffe voters found instead posted for Cuccinelli.

KennyWilliams
KennyWilliams

@Constitutional.Reset @ThomasHall , Virginia currently has a Republican Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General and they control the state legislature.  The head of the election board is appointed by the Republican Governor.  Prior to the election the Attorney General Cuccinelli and Republicans purged 40,000 voters.  And despite Cuccinelli's cheating and lying he still lost.  Along with that ignorant fool E.W. Jackson.   You lost..Good Day sir!

JasonHarris1
JasonHarris1

@michaelcoppola13 Well said. I showed my ID when I voted. I had a voter ID card. Can't change the rules or cry foul just because your side didn't win.

bobcn
bobcn

@Soulice @LeahPetersen

"Just don't understand the issue with showing an ID to cast your vote as a citizen of the country?"

It probably isn't a problem for you -- but it is for many.

We have empirical evidence that American citizens are being disenfranchised by voter ID laws.  We've created a problem.  The question we're left with is: does this problem we've created solve a more serious problem?  The answer to that is also known.  In-person voter fraud is exceedingly rare and clearly does not warrant a solution that disenfranchises large blocks of citizens.

I believe it's clear that voter ID laws are being passed to intentionally deny selected groups of their right to vote.  For purely partisan purposes.  However, if I'm wrong and it's truly being done in good faith then would you also support other preventative measures to prevent similarly uncommon crimes?  For example: 

Supermarkets are occasionally robbed by armed thieves.  We respond to this by trying to catch and then punish the thieves after they've committed their crimes. But, using the proactive voter ID model, rather than trying catch the thieves after the fact we could pass laws that require that every person entering a supermarket must be frisked for weapons and fingerprinted at the door.  It would inconvenience a lot of people but it could reduce a relatively rare crime (although one that's more common than in-person voter fraud).  We'd be being proactive.

But we won't because it would be absurd -- just as preventing large groups of citizens from voting because they have no (or the wrong). ID is absurd.  Or (as I believe) it's intentionally malicious.

One more thing:  My 92 year old father wants to vote.  I had to take him to the DMV because his drivers license has expired (fortunately for all of us he doesn't drive anymore).  Oddly, you can't present an expired ID to prove that you're you when you go to vote.  He was fortunate to have me to cart him around for 1/2 the day to get his new ID.  Many of the people at the assisted living facility he stays at don't have that luxury.  Should they be denied their right to vote?

LeahPetersen
LeahPetersen

@Soulice @LeahPetersen If you're not willing to hear that it disenfranchises people then you're not interested in discussing the issue.


It SOUNDS so simple but in reality it's not:

In Texas BOTH potential candidates for governor next year--dem and repub--were told their ID wasn't acceptable when they went to vote this month. They had to cast a provisional ballot and come back the next day with the acceptable documents.  The former Speaker of their House's ID was expired by one year because he no longer drove. He too had to come back and prove who he was. A state judge in TX had the same problem because her married name on her ID didn't exactly match the name she had used to register to vote long ago.

These are people with all the access in the world, zero obstacles to obtaining the proper ID, people who need ID frequently, who have been voting exactly the same way for years, and they were turned away and had to return.

Now consider people with limited access to transportation, people who work long hours, perhaps at more than one job, and don't have the time to stand in line during normal business hours to get an ID they need ONE time a year. Obtaining your birth certificate is neither quick nor cheap. Elderly may not have a birth certificate at all. Did you know in NC, the new laws won't accept an ID issued by a state college? A lot of college student don't drive. They may not have an ID from the state they live in for four years. 

Voter ID laws "solve" the nonexistent problem of in-person voter fraud by making it difficult to impossible for hundreds of thousands per state to vote AT ALL.

I didn't make this stuff up. All the experts agree that strict voter ID laws disenfranchise voters, the elderly, students, the poor, and minorities disproportionately.

Titanus
Titanus

@Soulice @LeahPetersen 

It is not showing an ID that is the problem for most.  It is the crazy evaluation of the things that is what is not fair.  This really affects women who often do not have an ID that matches their names in the voter rolls.  I am sure my wife did not reregister to vote after our marriage.  The only reason her name matches now is due to having moved between states a few times.

sacredh
sacredh

@Paul,nnto, winning statewide offices isn't important, It's all about winning the hearts and minds of those they've already won the hearts and minds of.

Constitutional.Reset
Constitutional.Reset

@JasonHarris1 @michaelcoppola13 
There are three major types of election fraud.  
There is more than the preponderance of evidence needed for the General Assembly to require a do-over of the 2013 election.
There is more than enough conclusive evidence to convict McAuliffe, Northam and accomplices such that they may not serve in office. There are hundreds of counts.  
They don't all need to be tried at once.  
The crony capitalists and their servants cannot prevail forever seeing how the number of ways in which they can obstruct justice is finite.

God will have the last word on McAuliffe's presumptuous conceit that felony is his right.

sacredh
sacredh

@Paul,nnto, it takes a special kind of mind to take a job where you want to destroy your employer.  

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

The TPers hate the government and LOVE the government salaries and benefits.