VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Beach election recount did not change the results of the November election.
Election winner, Councilman Louis Jones, picked up a few votes, Councilman John Moss lost a few votes, but still won, and David Nygaard remained the winner after the recount.
City officials brought in high-speed counters to recount more than 280,000 votes this week. The recounts, which started simultaneously Monday morning, were expected to last three to four days.
FINAL RECOUNT TALLY:
At-Large (margin: 325):
- Moss: 56,868 votes
- Oliver: 56,543 votes
Beach District (margin: 163):
- Nygaard: 48,042
- Uhrin: 47,879
Bayside District (margin: 530):
- Jones: 70,721
- Martin: 70,191
(Correction: An earlier version of this article erroneously listed the incorrect vote total for John Uhrin. The official number has been corrected.)
Nygaard and others were concerned about the process, “we saw precincts, we saw tallies reversed recorded for one candidate when they should have been recorded for the other.”
Nygaard and others complained about the recounting of three races at once, where ballots are sent around the table for all three races with three different teams of two counting the race they are responsible for.
John Uhrin, who was running for re-election in the Beach District, filed court documents earlier this month challenging the results of the November election, claiming Nygaard did not live in the district at the time.
Attorney Gary Byler represents Louis Jones and John Moss, and he wants to change Virginia State Code on how the process works, that observers caught mistakes made by the election counters as they were making them.
“They didn’t come to be the same numbers as the election until they were corrected, and it is much easier to make an error in a three way count. My team found five or six errors alerted the registrar and to their credit they were corrected … the state code calls for a recount one race at a time, and that wasn’t done here.”
After all was said and done, the results were almost identical to what they were on election night.
“I just think it was important for us to get an accurate count of the election which is being done and they have done a great job,” said Dee Oliver, a losing candidate in the large race.
Virginia Beach Voter Registrar Donna Patterson responds to critics who think it was wrong to recount all three races at the same time. “I think you have to look at each recount individually in the future recounts, but this time I feel we made the right decision to do it this way,” Patterson said.
10 On Your Side asked recount Coordinator Al Ablowich about complaints that his counters made mistakes and it was the observers who brought it to him.
Ablowich said the recount is not an audit, that the recount should not depend on the election results.
When we pointed out by looking at the election results will red flag any wild fluctuation in the recount, Ablowich responded, “The observers are an important function. They draw attention to the problem before we get it. If there is a question we can get it resolved to their satisfaction before we go through a validation process.”
When asked if the errors made by his counters would be caught during the validation process, Ablowich said, “Absolutely.”
Byler was not so sure.
Here is what we know: 200 people gave up four days of their lives to fulfill our democratic process of elections won and elections lost.
10 On Your Side spoke with some of those who came in to recount the November election.
“I think it really went smoothly. We had a good table and most of these tables were doing really well…we didn’t have any issues,” said recount official Scott Sinclair.
“It was excellent. I worked with a great team, great leadership, great organization, everyone came together as one and we did it,” said Eartha Alexander.
“There were not any issues. We just wanted to make sure the right candidate was selected and we just did our civic duty,” Antionette Towner added.
All the final numbers were certified in Virginia Beach Circuit Court on Thursday night.