Les Smith Reports: Attorney General race still undecided

Posted at 7:17 PM, Nov 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-13 19:17:03-05

The disputed Virginia Attorney General's race is moving into a new phase after one of the candidates is claiming victory.

You might think that with all the technology we have available nowadays that this wouldn't happen, but it turns out, people still make mistakes and machines do too.

2.2 million Virginians voted last Tuesday and it's come down to counting ballots by hand.

Democrat Mark Herring claimed victory in a news release on Monday night and on Tuesday named his transition team.

The only problem is, he hasn't officially won.

His Republican challenger is not about to give up.

"I don't know who is going to move into the Attorney General's office in January and despite what Mark Herring says, he doesn't know either," says Rep. Mark Obenshain.

After Election Night, Obenshain was leading by more than 600 votes. Then, cities and counties began counting provisional ballots -- ones from people who showed up at the wrong precinct or didn't have a proper ID on Election Day.

Over the weekend, ballots from a jammed voting machine in a mostly Democratic Fairfax County were recounted and Obenshain's lead shrank.

Then on Monday, we learned of a major "oops." An entire ballot machine in Richmond wasn't counted on Election Night. The reason? Tired poll workers.

When those votes were added up, Mark Herring went from 17 votes down to 117 votes ahead.

And then Tuesday, his lead grew even more. Provisional votes in Fairfax County were finally counted.

So as it stands, Herring is now ahead by 163 votes. But that's still not the end.

The State Board of Elections will take a look at the results and the vote becomes official on November 25th.

Then the candidate who is declared the loser has ten days to ask for a recount.

How long will that take?

The last time this happened was in 2005 when Bob McDonnell was elected Attorney General. We didn't know the result for more than a month after the election.

So don't expect this to be over until mid-December.