Three days after Election Day, some campaign headquarters remain staffed with volunteers, including the race for the House of Delegates in Stafford County, where there are claims some voters’ voices are being silenced.
Republican Bob Thomas leads Democrat Joshua Cole by just 84 votes in Virginia’s 28th House District.
The House is split, with 49 Democrats and 51 Republicans, but three races are too close to call. Just one turning blue would create a 50/50 split, with Democrat Lt. Gov.-elect Justin Fairfax holding the tiebreaking vote.
Cole said he believes his race could be the one to create that split if the Stafford County registrar agrees to count certain ballots.
“We don’t know who those votes are for, but it’s the fact of the matter that citizens’ voices are being muffled, and we shouldn’t have that,” he said.
Democrats in Stafford County say 55 military absentee ballots aren’t being counted but should. Then there’s an unknown number of provisional ballots. Democrats say the registrar hasn’t told them that exact number and they want to know it. Some also claim another 1,100 absentee ballots that aren’t being counted.
Democrats say the military absentee ballots and the provisional ballots could determine the outcome of the election.
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“If they were legally there on time, then I would want them to be counted, just like everybody would,” Thomas said.
Thomas believes the registrar is abiding by the rules.
The registrar didn’t respond to an email request for an interview.
“The people that will ultimately make that decision are the electoral board, not just the registrar,” Thomas said. “He works for them. Those three people will ultimately have the decision to finalize the numbers, and it’s two Democrats and a Republican. And I trust their judgment.”
Cole said he’s prepared for any outcome.
“Whether we win or we don’t win, I’m feeling good,” he said. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m preparing for 2018 already, to prepare to fight again. We, the Democrats showed their voice. We understand that this district is not as red as they thought.”