Ballot counting taking longer than expected in VA-04 Democrat primary

It's still not clear who won yesterday's Democrat Primary for Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District.
Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 2:55 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 21, 2022 at 9:18 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It’s democracy in action for Virginia Democrats. Wednesday morning, a team of five began the painstaking process of counting more than 26,000 ballots cast in Tuesday’s primary.

“Right now they’re going through location by location to unpack and count the ballots, sort them, make sure we’re having the most accurate fair and transparent process as possible,” said Liam Watson, Democratic Party of Virginia Interim Spokesperson.

Each ballot was hand counted and then placed in a pile on the 20th floor of a downtown high-rise where the party is headquartered.

Four piles in total for the four candidates running: Jennifer McClellan, Joe Morrissey, Tavorise Marks and Joseph Preston.

Boxes of ballots, secured and kept locked overnight, were trucked into a small conference room where campaign representatives watched each box unsealed, opened and its contents tallied. Media watched from outside the room through glass windows.

“Integrity is at the top of the list for things we find to be important in this party-run process. There’s been so much talk about the integrity of elections over the last couple of years and so it’s paramount to us in this process is as transparent and open as possible,” said Watson.

Tuesday’s Democrat-run primary brought out a higher-than-expected turnout for the fourth congressional district. Officials say they had only printed 25,000 ballots originally and had to print more to keep up with the demand.

As of 8 p.m., 11,056 out of 26,000 ballots have been counted.

“We were so pleased with turnout yesterday. It was incredibly impactful to see so many of our neighbors here in the 4th congressional district turnout to honor the late Donald McEachin,” said Watson.

Whoever emerges in this primary will take on Republican pastor Leon Benjamin in the special election set for Feb. 21.