The Virginia Attorney General race looks like it's coming down to a recount and a decision by the courts. Not good. Right now, Democrat Mark Herring holds a 174-vote lead over Republican Mark Obenshain, despite Republicans' efforts to disenfranchise as many votes as possible.
Mother Jones reports:
Virginia GOP attorney Miller Baker challenged the attorney general results on Bush v. Goregrounds last week during a meeting of the Fairfax County electoral board, claiming the rest of the state lacked equal protection thanks to the county's method for tabulating votes. The problem stems from a swath of uncounted provisional ballots in the region. Obenshain had led Herring after initial Election Day results, but the Democrat closed the gap thanks to some misplaced votes in a reliably blue section of Fairfax County, a DC suburb. The Republican-dominated state Board of Elections then demanded that Fairfax change its procedure for provisional ballots midway through counting. But even after the changes, Fairfax still afforded residents several extra days to advocate on provisional ballots compared to the rest of the state. (Other counties had until the Friday after the election, while Fairfax allowed votes to be counted until the following Tuesday.)
Obenshain issued a statement last week that left his options open and mentioned the need for "uniform rules," which election law expert Rick Hasen interpreted as a sign that the Republican is gearing up for a lawsuit that would base its challenge on Bush v. Gore.
Even though the United States Supreme Court said Bush v. Gore could not be cited as precedent, I'm willing to bet this conservative majority won't hesitate to rescind that for this very special case.
Let's review what's happened with this race. First voters were purged from the rolls. Then all results from one voting machine in a reliably Democratic district were "overlooked" in the initial tallies. Then Republicans changed the rules for handling provisional ballot challenges, forcing the elections board in Fairfax County to extend the time for provisional ballot defenses.
Now Republicans want to argue that the results are somehow unfair because they changed the rules in the middle of the count, and they want to use a flawed Supreme Court decision as the foundation for their challenge.
Hey, why not just count up the ballots again and be done with it, GOP? What's wrong with that approach?