Virginia Voters Hand Statehouse Keys To Tea Party By Razor-Slim Margin

The one dark spot in the midst of was an extremely encouraging election night for progressives is Virginia.

Via Washington Post:

Virginia Democrats’ hopes of maintaining its hold on the Commonwealth’s upper house were very much in doubt late Tuesday, hinging on a razor-thin count in a single Senate district.

When the ballot-counting ended for the night, longtime Spotsylvania incumbent Sen. R. Edward Houck (D) was 86 votes behind Republican challenger Bryce E. Reeves. Absentee ballots have been counted, and an unknown number of provisional ballots will be counted Wednesday.

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) early Wednesday morning declared victory on behalf of Reeves in the 17th District, which encompasses Fredericksburg and parts of five downstate counties.

Craig Bieber, Houck’s campaign manager, said the race “remains too close to call” and noted “several significant discrepancies during Tuesday night’s tabulation that deserve further attention during the canvassing and certification process.”

Republicans need a net gain of three seats to seize outright control of the Senate; a two-seat gain would leave the GOP with a working majority on the Senate floor, with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling able to break tie votes, but unable to dominate committees.

86 votes in a low turnout (!!!!) election. And yes, there have been voting anomalies.

The state Board of Elections said there had been “isolated issues” at some polls but characterized them as “normal Election Day issues.”

In the Washington region, some counties reported only a handful of problems on Election Day, but others experienced dozens of baffled voters at individual polling places. That was most often the case in Fairfax County, due to redistricting.

But local elections officials characterized the problems on Tuesday as minor.

The Brad Blog has more:

Coakley told me the county is using a new electronic poll book system made by Decision Support of Charlotte, NC. It's the first time the e-pollbooks have been used there.

"It was a programming...a logic error in the upload of the data," Coakley explained. "We have 200,000 voters in Henrico, 954 of those voters were incorrectly shown as registered at different precincts."

As the problem was discovered, and as voters who didn't show up in the e-pollbooks were being given provisional ballots, the precincts were eventually told to fall back to the paper pollbooks that they have on hand for backups. The paper pollbooks had the registrations listed correctly, according to Coakley.

"The paper came in very hand today!," Coakley, who said he's familiar with this blog, explained.

After moving to the backup paper pollbooks, voters were allowed to vote as usual...on 100% unverifiable Direct Recording Electronic (DRE, usually touch-screen) voting systems made by Winvote, rather than on paper. Coakley said they haven't had any problems with those systems today. They've been using the DRE machines since 2005.

Ohio and Virginia couldn't be stronger contrasts in the power of democracy and the people. In Ohio, more turned out to vote against Issue 2 than turned out to vote for John Kasich. In Virginia, people didn't bother to show up, and those who did were not guaranteed their vote would count.

It will be interesting to watch Virginia's progress over the next twelve months. With wingnuts in charge of everything, we'll get a birds-eye view of what they have planned for the people. Here's what Governor McDonnell has planned:

"Tonight, Virginia voters have made history," Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a statement. "Over the course of this campaign, Republican candidates have focused on providing common sense solutions to the challenges facing our citizens. And that is how we will govern in the majority. We will continue to put forward common sense policies that will help the private sector create jobs and reform our government to make it more efficient and effective.

Republican control could give McDonnell freer rein in the second half of his term and could also signal a more conservative turn on issues such as abortion, gun rights and illegal immigration.


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