VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A three-judge panel upheld the final vote in the recount of the House of Delegates race in the 85th District that pitted incumbent Alex Askew (D) against Karen Greenhalgh (R).
Greenhalgh was named the winner with a total of 14,285 votes. His opponent, Alex Askew, obtained 14,170 votes. His victory confirms that the Republicans will take control of the General Assembly next year.
Neither candidate was present in court on Friday.
Early results had Greenhalgh with a 127-vote lead in a race where more than 28,000 people voted. The margin was within the 0.5% threshold to qualify for a state-funded recount.
Jeff Marks, chairman of the Board of Elections, said Thursday evening that about 37,000 citywide early votes were still being sorted for those pertaining to the 85th District, which includes the western parts of the city, including Kempsville and downtown neighborhoods.
Once these relevant ballots have been sorted, they could be recounted. That process began at 7:30 a.m. Friday in a conference room in Building 14 of the Civic Center.
What transpired Friday in a Virginia Beach circuit courtroom confirmed that Republicans have taken control of the House of Delegates.
“Going to explain each of these mistakes is a waste of everyone’s time,” Virginia Beach Board of Election Co-Chairman David Belote told the judges on Friday.
The only issue that was raised was the votes from the in-person early vote before the election, where nine other people voted who were not in the final votes compiled in the recount.
Belote added: “There is no way for us to pinpoint human error precisely and try to document the nine we missed… This likely happened when voters registered to vote… The fact that we ran through the numbers three times, and we know the numbers that the judges just entered, that they are the final exact numbers… The total spread that we were really looking at after running the numbers three times, was nine votes missing out of 18,000 votes, which equals 27,000 out of 1%.
Del’s lawyer. Alex Askew, Kathryn Yukevich, moved a motion to explain where those nine votes are. Belote believes there were mistakes when the first voters registered to vote. For example, someone shows up, but another name is checked or unchecked.
Belote responded to this in court: “It’s not up to us to invaluably determine human error and try to document the nine we missed.”
The motion was granted to explain those votes, but in the end, Yukevich agreed to move on.
“I think every vote should be counted. That was the purpose of the motion which was the whole process to make sure every vote was counted,” Yukevich told 10 On Your Side in court.
None of the candidates were in the courtroom and responded to requests for comment, but we caught up with Greenhalgh’s lawyer, Dallin Holt, after the hearing, asking him what he would like to say on behalf of his client,
“I’m happy for her. She worked hard for it, and I can’t wait to see her serve,” Holt said.
The three-judge panel also recognized the hard work of election officials who recounted votes overnight until 6 a.m. Friday morning.
“My daughter was waking up to go to school. She said where are you going? And I still had my suit on, and she said where you were going, and I said no honey, I’m just going home,” Virginia Beach Board of Election Chairman Jeff Marks said.
So Republicans now hold 51 of the 100 seats in the House of Delegates, and if they win a recount next week in Hampton where Republican AC Cordoza holds a 94-vote margin over incumbent Democrat Martha Mugler, they will have 52 seats. .