Dem Remains Ahead In Virginia Race Where Bush-Era Lawyer Counting Ballots

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As we told you Wednesday, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) is just ahead of his Republican opponent Keith Fimian in a close race, and now the Fairfax County Board of Elections is canvassing the voting machines and examining provisional ballots.

With 100 percent of the precincts in, Connolly has 111,630 votes to Fimian’s 110,700, according to state election data last updated at 1:56 p.m. on Thursday.

In Fairfax County, Connolly has 76,086 votes to Fimian’s 71,571. With a split of 4,515 votes in Fairfax County, provisional ballots — of which a county spokeswoman said there “a little over 100” — aren’t going to swing the result in the county. Still, some are concerned due to the involvement of Hans von Spakovsky, a Bush-era Justice Department official who was accused of politicizing the Civil Rights Division and putting an undue emphasis on combating voter fraud.“He has a history of suppressing votes, so I always have a concern when he’s involved in any part of the voting process,” election lawyer Gerry Hebert told TPMMuckraker. “And voters in Fairfax County should also.”

A spokeswoman for the Fairfax County government said yesterday that canvassing is still happening, so some votes may change, but all the votes have been counted except for provisional ballots.

“Canvassing typically finds some votes changing sides because of transcribed numbers, things like that,” Merni Fitzgerald, spokeswoman for the Fairfax County government, told TPMMuckraker. “There’s no more counting going on, just canvassing. All of the votes have been counted, except for the provisional ballots, which the election board is reviewing vote by vote.”

The meeting in which provisional ballots are being counted was not open to the public, Fitzgerald said. Fitzgerald added that there is a representative of each political party in the closed meeting along with the board and the registrar.

“If the electoral board looks at them… the situation would be somebody comes in and they’re not listed as having been a registered voter, so they vote as a provisional ballot, and the electoral board has to make a decision as to whether that vote will be counted. So they look at them vote by vote by vote.” (That appears to be allowable under Va. law).

She said the electoral board may certify the count today, “but no guarantees.”

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