Judge rejects effort to block certification of delegate race

House majority leader, Del. Kirk Cox, R-Colonial heights, talks with Senate Republican floor leader, Sen. Thomas Norment, R-James City County, right during the House session at the Capitol Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 in Richmond, Va. The General assembly is in it's last few days for the 2013 session. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) – A federal judge has rejected an effort to block the Virginia elections board from certifying the results in a House of Delegates race where election officials say some voters got the wrong ballots.

Three voters, represented by a law firm closely aligned with the Democratic Party, asked a judge Wednesday in federal court in Alexandria to block the certification. The elections board is scheduled to meet Monday, and officials there say they will have little choice but to certify Republican Bob Thomas as the winner over Democrat Joshua Cole.

Thomas leads Cole by 82 votes in the race, which could determine control of the House.

The judge said it’s too early for federal intervention, and said the state process, including possible recounts and protests, should run its course.

“We appreciate the Court’s immediate attention and unequivocal ruling,” House Speaker-designee Kirk Cox said. “Judge Ellis said directly that the Board should do its statutory duty and certify the election results. That will allow the process laid out in state law to proceed.”

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