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Herring Takes Lead In AG Race, For Now - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Herring Takes Lead In AG Race, For Now

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There is a new twist in the razor-thin race for attorney general. After starting the week 17 votes behind Republican Mark Obenshain, new numbers out of Richmond now have Democrat Mark Herring leading by more than 100 votes.

A single voting machine from a single Richmond precinct resulted in the lead-changing difference. The machine went unaccounted for in the initial vote tallies on election night. Richmond Registrar Kirk Showalter chalked the mistake up to human error, saying it was likely overlooked mistakenly by tired election officials. During a vote canvass at Richmond City Hall Monday, the city’s electoral board corrected those discrepancies and accounted for a handful of provisional ballots, which gives Herring the temporary lead in the race for Attorney General.

Democrats estimate their candidate picked up 135 new votes Monday. Showalter says errors and discrepancies are common in every election, but rarely have a tangible impact on the outcome of a race.

“It’s what we go through every single election,” Showalter said. “That’s why the canvass is done, is to catch these sorts of errors that might not have been reported on election night correctly.”

For the Republican Party of Virginia, the results are a sort of bitter irony. It was the group to formally request a review of the precincts that unearthed new votes for its opponent. But with such a close margin, and a recount virtually guaranteed, both parties say the race is far from over.

“We just wanted to be sure that every single vote gets accounted for, and gets accounted for correctly,” said Republican Party of Virginia spokesman Garren Shipley.

“Across the board, we’re looking at different results,” Democratic Party of Virginia spokeswoman Ashley Bauman said. “We just want to make sure that every voter has a voice.”

Registrars have until 6 p.m. Tuesday to submit final numbers to the Board of Elections. After those votes are certified by the board later this month, the losing party can request a recount if the margin of victory is less than 1 percent of the votes cast (2.2 million). Right now, the margin sits well within that threshold at 0.005 percent.

If a recount is requested, a winner will likely not be determined until December.

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