Court hammers out details for recount in 83rd District House race

Virginia Politics

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Only 27 votes separate two candidates in what is the closest race in Hampton Roads.

On Tuesday in a Virginia Beach Circuit Court room, details were hammered out for next week’s recount in the House of Delegates 83rd District race between Republican incumbent Chris Stolle and Delegate-elect Nancy Guy, a Democrat.

The recount is set for Dec. 12 and 13.

Most of Tuesday’s hearing consisted of proposed amendments on the recount process by Guy’s attorney. Most of them were shot down by the judges. 

This is not the first time details of a recount needed to be hammered out. Last December, Virginia Beach recounted three citywide races, which has never happened in Virginia before.

Virginia Beach Clerk of Circuit Court Tina Sinnen told the court the ballots are secure.

“They have been secured since the election was over in a vault that takes [two of us] to open and lock, so they’ve been secure and they will remain there until the recount,” she said.

On Dec. 10, the ballots from the 83rd District will be separated to save time, and test ballots will be run through high-speed counters. There are 19 precincts in Virginia Beach including absentees, and one partial precinct in Norfolk.

Deputy Voter Registrar Christine Lewis, who was part of the recount last December, is getting ready to oversee next week’s recount.

“They all get run through the top bin [of the high speed counter] … the middle one will be all the under votes the over votes or ones with write–ins or the ones they couldn’t figure out.” 

Almost all of the ballots will have no issue. Ones that do will get the attention of election officials to determine the voter’s intent. 

“Only the ballots that can’t be read by machines, the under votes, the over votes, the write-ins will be spit out for hand-counting and review,” Nancy Guy’s attorney Jonathan Berkon said. 

If voter’s intent can’t be determined, then a three-judge panel will consider those on Dec. 18.

After the hearing, Nancy Guy’s attorney seemed satisfied the process will be fair and transparent.

“I am confident the court officials will do everything that they said they would do,” Berkon said. 

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