Democrats sue for Stafford to count 55 absentee ballots in House race

Democrats sue for Stafford to count 55 absentee ballots in House race

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Provisional ballot counts in the exceptionally close House of Delegates races that could determine control of the chamber have ended with Republicans holding onto the lead in all three.

The Stafford County elections board finished examining provisional ballots Tuesday in the 28th District race between Democrat Joshua Cole and Republican Bob Thomas. Thomas maintained an 82-vote lead.

The elections board also voted Tuesday not to count 55 disputed absentee ballots.

The Virginia House Democratic Caucus issued the following statement:

"We are disappointed with today's decision of the Stafford County Electoral Board not to count the 55 absentee ballots erroneously excluded from this year's election results. As a result, we have filed suit on behalf of the Joshua Cole campaign in the Federal Court in Alexandria to demand these lawful voters' ballots be counted in accordance with the law and U.S. Constitution."

Earlier in the day, a Stafford County judge threw out a lawsuit alleging election officials had given "conflicting and misleading instructions" to voters.

Provisional votes were counted Monday in the 94th and 40th districts, where the GOP incumbents remained ahead.

Recounts are possible in all three races. If Democrats pick up one more seat, the chamber would be tied.

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