Fairfax Co. reviews low number of absentee ballots

FAIRFAX, Va. (WJLA) - The Fairfax County Electoral Board is looking at why one district has an unusually low number of absentee ballots. The ballots are crucial in the attorney general's race where State Sen. Mark Obenshain (R) currently leads State Sen. Mark Herring (D) by only 777 votes with 2.2 million votes counted.{ }

The Fairfax Electoral Board secretary says the board is aware of the problem and so a group of election officials is sitting down with a representative from each party to go over all of the absentee ballots Friday.

Congressman Gerry Connolly's office Wednesday discovered the possible discrepancy and brought it to the attention of the electoral board Thursday night. According to election officials, about 7,200 people in the 8th congressional district voted absentee either by mail or in person before election day. However, on election night only about 5,500 absentee votes were recorded in that district, leaving about 2,000 unaccounted for or missing.

Fairfax is the largest county with the most precincts in the state. Officials said they had record voter turnout this year for a gubernatorial race so they have a lot to go over. Officials also say they could have an answer to this problem soon and this could have a real impact on the race.


The Fairfax County Electoral Board released the following statement regarding its investigation of the apparent error in absentee ballot returns in the 8th Congressional District and their continuing canvass of the election results in Fairfax County.

“Earlier today, we directed the staff to begin a canvass of the 8th District Central Absentee Precinct. That process continued until noon, when the board met in an open meeting with the Election Office staff who are working the canvass, representatives of the Republican and Democratic parties, representatives of the Herring and Obenshain campaigns and the general public.

During that meeting, the discussion revolved around two optical scan machine tape records, one that had been included in the results, and one that had not been included in the results. After discussion with the parties and the staff, the board directed the staff to complete the canvass and to present the results of their final investigation to us once that investigation was complete. We were notified late Friday that the staff would be prepared to present their investigation results on Saturday morning.

The board will meet again with the canvass staff and observers to hear the results of their investigation at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9, in the Conference Center of the Fairfax County Government Center. This meeting is open to the public.

Our provisional ballot meeting will begin at 2 p.m. We anticipate concluding the investigation of the 8th District issue and the provisional ballot meeting on Saturday, Nov. 9 and the overall canvass on Sunday, Nov. 10.”

Virginia State Board of Elections
Fairfax County Office of Elections