FAIRFAX, Va. (WJLA) - In Fairfax County, the numbers tell the story of the big task at hand: 40 teams of volunteers and campaign observers are recounting 300,000 ballots from 240 precincts countywide.
"This is a human process. We are doing our best to keep errors to an absolute minimum. And that's the goal is to get this done as fairly and accurately as we possibly can," said Brian Schoeneman, Fairfax County Election Board Secretary.
The machines do most of the work, as they will reject a large number of so-called undervotes or overvotes. These occur when people did not correctly fill in the oval, and instead wrote a check or an “X” or just a name.
"I saw at least one that had Mickey Mouse as a write-in," said Schoeneman, who expects that an estimated 5,500 votes will get rejected by machines, leading to closer examination from election teams.
If members of the team – campaign representatives included – cannot come to an agreement, those ballots are sent to the special recount court in Richmond set to meet later this week.
With Herring leading by just 165 votes out of 2.2 million cast, everyone involved expects that the recount will sway the final tally one way or the other.
"I think this is anybody's election. I think either candidate has a chance to win this and that's why the process needs to be fair, open, transparent, and accurate," said Obenshain's attorney, Chris Ashby.
According to Herring campaign staffers, their candidate has already picked up 20 more votes than Obenshain in Fairfax County – a trend they expect will continue throughout the recount.
"We think at the end of the process on Friday, the court in Richmond will declare Mark Herring the winner in this process," said spokesperson Ellen Qualls.
As of 4:15 p.m. on Monday, Herring has picked up132 votes in Fairfax County, while Obsenshain picked up 55. Net gain is currently at 77 votes for Herring.
54 precincts (22%) have finalized their recount in Fairfax County, and zero ballots have been challenged so far.