As the deadline approaches to formally challenge the results of the November 5th attorney general’s election, Republican Sen. Mark Obenshain’s lead attorney gave the first indication on Monday that the election could be contested in the Virginia General Assembly if the votes don’t end in Obenshain’s corner. So much for a graceful election defeat…
In front of a three judge court overseeing the recount in the attorney general’s race, Obenshain’s lead attorney, William H. Hurd, stated that it is “critically important” for his legal team to obtain complete access data from electronic poll books before the Dec. 23rd deadline to formally contest the results of the election in the General Assembly.
Under Virginia law, Obenshain could legally request that a joint session of the Virginia legislature reverse the results of the attorney general’s election. According to the Times Dispatch, “grounds for a contest include objections to “the conduct or results of the election accompanied by specific allegations which, if proven true, would have a probable impact on the outcome of the election.”” That is, prepare for Obenshain and/or his team of legal henchmen to make “specific allegations” that could overturn the election’s results.
Without getting into the nitty-gritty of the court’s ruling on specific ballot recount specifications, the Virginia-wide recount has been set for Dec. 17-18, leaving 72 hours for either candidate to challenge the ballot results.
Although no one can reasonably blame Mr. Obenshain for asking for a statewide recount in an election decided by 165 votes, Virginians will have cause for outrage if Obenshain swings the ultimate outcome of the election to the Virginia General Assembly, an institution “dominated” by Obenshain’s Republican Party.
If we are to assume that Republicans in the legislature will allow party politics to trump ethics and individual integrity (big assumption, I know), the Republican Party could in effect overturn the will of a majority of Virginians on trumped up allegations.
Not only would this set of events undermine the democratic process in Virginia, it would also set up an increasingly toxic relationship between the Democratic and Republican parties as the 2014 session of the General Assembly nears. Neither scenario seems particularly optimal, to say the least.
Here’s hoping that the Democratic Party doesn’t role over as usual in the face of Republican Party aggression.