Virginia House control in balance as vote recount begins

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One in two outstanding votes will decide whether Virginia Republicans have secured a majority in the House of Delegates, running Thursday in Virginia Beach.

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Election officials and representatives of both parties are expected to participate in a secondary count of ballots requested by Democrat Del Alex Esque, who currently represents the 85th House District.

Askew and fellow Democrat Del Martha Mugler requested a recount after the proven results of the November 2 election for the 91st district showed their GOP challengers leading by a very small margin.


According to the proven results, Republicans who won 52 districts have said they are confident their candidates will maintain their lead.

If the party holds onto both victories, it would mark a GOP sweep over last month’s election, when its candidates claimed the statewide offices of governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Those victories marked a dramatic turnaround in a state where the GOP had not won a statewide race since 2009.

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Virginia’s top election official, Chris Piper, has said that the size of the margin is unlikely to change the results of the recalculation. If Askew and Mugler were both declared winners through recounting, the House would be tied 50-50, forcing Democrats and Republicans to conclude a power-sharing agreement.

Askew is currently trailing Republican Karen Greenhal by 127 votes on a count of 28,413. Mugler is trailing Republican AC Cordoza by 94 votes out of 27,388 votes. The Associated Press has not called any races.

Recounting in the 91st district, which includes Hampton and Pocoson and York counties, is expected next week, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mugler and Askew are both current freshmen who were first elected in 2019, when Democrats flipped both the House and Senate.

Recounts are not automatic in Virginia and must be requested. Since the margin was less than 0.5% in the Escue–Greenhall and Mugler–Cordoza races, the cost would be covered by the state.

Deputy registrar Christine Lewis said the process, starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, would involve sending district ballots through high-speed scanners. Any ballot papers containing irregularities will be set aside for manual scrutiny.

Lewis said on Friday, any ballots that either side decides to challenge will be presented to a three-judge panel, which will go through them personally and rule on how they should be counted. , Lewis said.


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