Republican Karen Greenhalgh holds win in Virginia Beach House of Delegates race after recount

Posted at 12:18 PM, Dec 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-03 13:27:12-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A close House of Delegates race was being recounted Thursday at the Municipal Center.

Republican Karen Greenhalgh lead Democrat Alex Askew by 127 votes in the 85th district. Because the margin was within half a percent, Askew was able to request a recount at the expense of the city and state.

In a conference room, day-of votes from the precincts in the district were being run through a machine. If the machine was not able to read one, members of both parties review the ballot and determine how it should be counted.

As of Noon on Friday, there were 14,285 total votes for Greenhalgh and 14,170 for Askew. During the recount, Askew picked up 12 additional votes but that was not enough to win.

There were nine discrepancies so nine votes were missing from the original count. Those nine votes were all from early voting and all from building 14. Five of them were believed to be caused by a paper jam and the other four were believed to be human error.

There was one contested ballot because it had both circles filled and a line through Greenhalgh’s name. That ballot was thrown out and not counted for either candidate.

Officials said all incident reports are going to be added to a final report.

If there were disagreements, a three-judge panel would review the ballots on Friday and make the final determination if and how they should be counted.

"I think everyone should feel confident about what is being done, the way it's being planned, and the way it's being executed," said Jeff Marks, chairman of the Electoral Board.

Republicans currently have a two-seat majority in the House of Delegates. Democrats have also requested a recount in the 91st District on the Peninsula, where Republican A.C. Cordoza leads Democrat Martha Mugler by 94 votes. That recount is expected to happen next week.

Generally, political experts say recounts don't produce vastly different results, but election officials in Virginia Beach say they want to do their due diligence.

"As a lawyer, I can tell you it's a case-by-case basis. Everyone is different, so I don't want to speculate whether there will be a 127-vote change," Marks said. "If there is, it wouldn't surprise me and if there isn't it wouldn't surprise me."

Election officials believe close elections and recounts are proof that every vote matters.

"Every single vote matters. Virginia Beach and Hampton Roads have proven that repeatedly over the years," said Electoral Board member Dave Belote.