Recounts in 3 Va. Beach council races set for Monday

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Recounts in three Virginia Beach City Council races are set for early next week, WAVY’s Andy Fox reports.

The three candidates who sought recounts after the November election are Councilman John Uhrin in the Beach District, down by 212 votes; Dee Oliver, who ran at-large and is down by 347 votes; and Brad Martin in the Bayside District, who is down by 503 votes.

Related: Councilman says winning opponent falsely claimed residence

Virginia Beach is bringing in high-speed counters for the recount of more than 280,000 votes, which is slated for Monday, Dec. 17, at 10:30 a.m. The recounts, which will happen at the same time, are expected to last three to four days.

“We are realistic about the outcome,” Martin said. “We are excited to be as close as we are. We certainly want to win the race, but we also want the vote to be counted and to be counted accurately.” 

The court accepted the registrar’s plan. Two high speed DS 850’s that cost $17,500 each to rent and a standby one will count 200 ballots a minute in each of the102 precincts. 

The recount will be done for all three races at the same time. The  ballots that are rejected by the counters for various reasons will be counted by hand if determined to be legitimate votes. 

That’s where Attorney Gary Byler had an issue. He represents winning candidates Louis Jones and John Moss.

“We are on questionable ground,” Byler said. “The court is moving on their own efforts to merge three cases  when there has been no motion to merge the three case … the three races should be counted separately.  Once the first race is recounted, then we move onto the next.” 

Byler suggested that, but the judges went with counting all three races at the same time. Winning candidate David Nygaard beat incumbent John Uhrin, who was not at the hearing, by 212 votes.  

Nygaard feels the same way as Byler, “I would prefer to have each election handled individually  with the individual focus on that particular race … to concentrate just on that one.” 

Losing candidate Dee Oliver, who trails Incumbent John Moss by 347 votes, also did not attend the hearing.

“I think the judge and the board are going to look after all our best interest,” Oliver said. “I think they are going to make sure they get a great count and it is going to be accurate. I am not really concerned about observers,  what they are going to oversee, and how they are going to handle their job.” 

Byler adds, “my concern is human error creeping in, because the more ballots you have to handle to count the greater the chance for error.” 

Byler ​​​​​​i​s concerned that over-under votes that are rejected in one race means the whole ballot has to be recounted by hand in the other two races since all three races are counted at once.

“The final word on this is not a voter registrar official that say this ballot is counted,” Byler said. If we don’t agree with it and it change the outcome we are going to court.” 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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