In last week’s bloodbath state election in Virginia, Democrats retained control of the governor’s mansion, the lieutenant governor’s seat, and the attorney general’s office. Additionally, they swept seats in the House of Delegates, picking up over a dozen seats and reducing the GOP’s numbers from a supermajority to a current 51 seat majority.
However, since many races were very close, recounts are going to take place. Under Virginia election law, a recount may take place if the margin between the candidates is one percent or less. One of those races is in Stafford County, where the margin between the Republican and Democratic candidates is just 84 votes in favor of the former.
In spite of the closeness of the race, some ballots were not even counted last Tuesday, causing outrage on both sides of the aisle. As local station WUSA9 reports, the balance in the House of Delegates is at stake.
STAFFORD, VA (WUSA9) – With control of Virginia’s House of Delegates hanging in the balance, Democrats and many veterans are furious that scores of military ballots have been tossed aside.
The Electoral Board in Stafford County is refusing to count the votes from troops overseas and around the country — even though they could make a difference in the razor-close race for District 28.
Bob Thomas, the Republican who is 84 votes ahead of Democrat Joshua Cole, says the ballots arrived at the Electoral Board on Wednesday, the day after Election Day.
But House Democratic leaders say the county registrar simply failed to pick up the ballots from the post office box, where they had arrived on Tuesday.
Thomas says the Electoral Board has two Democrats and one Republican member, and he respects its decision.
But Cole says that especially on Veterans Day, its simply wrong to deny troops the right to vote that many of them are overseas to protect.
— Bruce Leshan (@BruceLeshan) November 10, 2017
Well, now all of a sudden Democrats are concerned about certain ballots not being counted, military ballots at that.
Remember that back in 2012, the Department of Defense had failed to deliver absentee ballots to thousands of active duty military veterans. Additionally, a plane carrying mail had reportedly destroyed military ballots before the election. Yet there wasn’t much of an outcry from them over that.
But now, in the age of Trump, where every possible Democratic vote is even more precious than before, they need to be sure that everyone is able to have their voice, and if there is voter fraud preventing someone’s voice from being heard they’re going after it as hard as they can.
There is also silence over the felony voter fraud charges brought against North Carolina elections officials for tampering with the number of votes.
Now, integrity of the vote suddenly matters. Oh the irony…
The ballots never should have been “forgotten.” It’s either extreme incompetence, for which those election officials should be fired; or, deliberate voter suppression, for which they should also be fired and prosecuted.
In an election as close as Virginia’s was this past week, it is more important than ever to ensure the integrity of the vote. That means proper ID verification, updating voter rolls to prevent “dead voters,” and ensuring that ballots are properly counted.
The military tends to be more conservative in their voting patterns, so it’s actually kind of surprising that the Democrats are making a stink over the issue. Last year’s polls show wide margins in favor of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, a general trend each presidential election cycle.
Will these ballots make the difference in this race, and in the balance of the House of Delegates as well? We’ll have to watch as recounts take place over the next month or so.