Uncounted Richmond voting machine flips Attorney General's race

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - For the first time since the election, Democrat Mark Herring has taken the lead over Republican Mark Obenshain and Richmond is at the center of the swing.

A canvass found an uncounted voting machine in Richmond precinct 501, and that was enough to push the Democrats to the front. Between the voting machine and a few uncounted paper ballots, Herring now has a net gain of 132 votes.

An unofficial count by the Cook Political Report puts Herring in the lead by 115 votes, claiming Herring's first lead of the canvas.

An error like forgetting to count a machine is not unprecedented. The registrar says it happens every year, but in this hotly contested race it obviously mattered more.

"As you've seen the figures are kind of small on the tape and in some precincts it might get dark and they just missed that one machine didn't get counted," said registrar Kirk Showalter. "But again, that's the whole purpose of the canvas and that's why we continuously say, what you hear on election night is not official results."

Throughout the two and a half hour meeting, attorneys filled the small registrar's office entryway- at times- shouting questions and asking the board to double check other precincts.

"I was hoping we'd be finished before Fairfax," laughed Showalter. "The interest could go North, but yeah, we have ongoing interest in the campaign.

But in the end, only precinct 501 had a significant discovery. A few other precincts had unreported paper ballots.

Both campaigns say they will continue to watch the canvas carefully.

"In a race this close we just have to make sure we get all our 'i's dotted and 't's crossed," said Republican representative Garren Shipley.

"We're here right now to just make sure that every vote is counted and that we have an open and transparent process and that we see that each individual voter had a voice in this election," said Ashley Bauman, press secretary for the Democratic Party of Virginia.

Officials with the registrar's office hope to have the numbers updated on the State Board of Elections website Monday, or more realistically on Tuesday.

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