Campaign Update


11/27/2013 | News |

This morning, we will be asking for a recount in the Attorney General’s race. While we certainly would have preferred for the result to be settled on November 5, over the last few weeks we have seen a fluctuating margin that currently sits at 165 votes separating us out of more than 2.2 million votes cast. It’s the closest race in Virginia history, and as we have seen in other races around the country with margins this slim, this result could easily change when all is said and done. 

Of the 4 statewide races this century within a 300 vote margin, 3 have been overturned in a recount. The 0.007 percent margin in our race is closer than any of those. We owe it to the people of Virginia to make sure we get it right.

We’re going to need all hands on deck. We have already seen an overwhelming outpouring of support during the canvass process. For that, Suzanne and I and the whole Obenshain team will be forever grateful. If someone from the campaign has not already reached out to you, we’ll be calling on you once again to lend your time, your talents and, if you’re able, to contribute to our recount fund.

The other side has employed the lead attorney from the Al Franken recount in 2008. To make sure that your voice is heard and that we get a fair process, we’ll need to fully fund our legal response team. We’re setting the wheels in motion for the recount this morning. Will you donate $50 or $100 today to support our effort?  

Your help will continue to make all the difference. We can't begin to thank you enough. 


Mark Obenshain

P.S. As we have done throughout this process, we want to continue to make sure you have the latest information to be able to share with your friends and family. Below you can find additional information about the recount and what to expect.

The procedures for the recount are established in Virginia Code § 24.2-802 and regulations adopted by the Virginia State Board of Elections. The recount will be supervised by a three-judge court, sitting in Richmond, Virginia. The court will set the dates and terms of the recount and will confirm the officers of election and coordinators for the recount. 

The day of the recount, in each locality, recount teams will:
Run optical scan ballots through tabulating machines;
Recount by hand any optical scan ballots that are rejected from the machines;
Recount by hand provisional ballots;
Recount by hand absentee ballots;
Re-tally the tapes printed by direct-recording electronic voting machines; and
Reprint and re-tally any illegible tapes printed on election night.

If election officials cannot agree on how to count certain ballots, those ballots will be sent to Richmond so that the three-judge court can resolve the dispute. The results from all localities will then be tallied together and the three judges will declare the winner.

In the 2005 recount in the close Attorney General’s race, optical scan ballots in only 10 precincts were re-run and re-tabulated.  That recount resulted in a net swing of 37 votes towards McDonnell. In 2008, legislation sponsored by Senator Creigh Deeds was enacted and became part of the recount statute, Code § 24.2-802, which mandates that optical scan ballots be run through the machines and re-tabulated in a recount, with any ballot rejected by the optical scan machine to be counted by hand. 

This change in the law is significant, because it means that the recount teams will have the opportunity to examine many ballots cast by voters that were not counted on election night (these ballots are referred to as “undervotes”).  As a result of the amendment of § 24.2-802, the Virginia Public Access Project estimates that there will be 100 times more ballots recounted this year than in 2005. One Democratic Virginia political analyst, Ben Tribbett, estimates that between 25,000 and 50,000 undervotes have yet to be counted.  

This process is ongoing, and we need your help. Thank you for your continued support, for your prayers and for your acts and words of encouragement. 

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