RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — It has been almost a week since Election Day and the control of the Virginia House of Delegates is still in question. Possible recounts for a few seats could swing the majority.
Right now, Republicans appear to hold a 51-to-49 lead. Whether they will hold on to the edge is still to be determined.
“This is a pretty rare occurrence in American politics,” said political analyst Richard Meagher. “This is a special circumstance because you have kind of perfect conditions. You have very close races — and those races matter.”
Three out of the 100 seats are being looked at very closely. They are the 28th District, made up of Stafford County and Fredericksburg, the 94th District in Newport News and the 40th District made up of parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties.
Tight races in those districts mean provisional ballots are coming into play.
“Provisional ballots are just ballots that something was wonky. Something was weird,” said Meagher.
If a voter forgot to bring their photo ID to the polls or had a registration mistake, they likely cast a provisional ballot.
The ballots are then counted after the information is verified.
Voters had until noon Monday to provide an acceptable form of ID to ensure their provisional ballot was counted.
The Board of Elections will certify results Nov. 20.
After that, campaigns can officially submit petitions for recounts in the districts with close calls.
If the difference in votes for a particular race is as close as one percent, the losing candidate can request — and pay for — a recount, according to Meagher.
The challenging candidate will have 10 days to file a petition with the appropriate circuit court.
If the race is within half a percent, the state pays.
“The idea is if it’s a really close race, you don’t want democracy to suffer just because someone doesn’t have the resource to pay for the recount,” said Meagher.
Both Republicans and Democrats have been raising money to pay for recounts if it comes to that.