Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Republican Election Shenanigans in Virginia

AG candidate Mark Obenshain (right)
From Salon

Last Friday, after most of the counties had finished going through their provisional ballots but while Fairfax County still had a fair amount of work to do, the state Board of Elections issued a directive telling Fairfax County and the rest of the state boards that they cannot have legal representatives (or party lawyers) stand in for voters to advocate that certain votes be counted. Fairfax County said its representatives had been allowed to do so in the past. The state board, which has two Republican members and one Democratic member, said it issued its clarification on the legal advice of the attorney general’s office in an effort to assure uniformity. From that point on, voters would have to argue for themselves that their provisional ballots deserved counting.

Democrats cried foul, noting that the rule change emanated from failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli’s office and came after the other counties were done counting, while Herring was closing the gap. Fairfax County—it should be noted—tends to skew Democrat. It looked like a rule change midstream, intended to benefit Obenshain, the Republican. Monday, however, the Virginia Board of Elections issued a further clarification, stating that Fairfax was the only county with this supposed policy (allowing outside advocates to argue for provisional ballots) and that it would be unfair for Fairfax to use this different rule. The board further clarified Monday that a voter would not need to show up in person but could supply any missing information by email or fax.

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