Monday, February 26, 2024

Election official: Virginia Beach recount costs not in the budget


VIRGINIA BEACH — Candidates in three close races for City Council have requested recounts.

Election Registrar Donna Patterson said the recount will cost the city approximately $100,000 — money that is not in the city’s budget. It’s unclear from where those funds will be pulled.

Although the city already owns voting machines, much of the recount money will be used to rent new ones. Patterson said the high speed digital scanners, made by the Election Systems and Software company, process ballots much faster and the city would want to rent them for a more timely recount.

Related story: Bobby Dyer sworn in as mayor of Virginia Beach

Two challengers to sitting members of council filed petitions for recounts — Brad Martin, in his race against Louis Jones, and Dee Oliver in her race against Councilman John Moss.

Councilman John Uhrin was the only incumbent to petition for a recount; he lost his reelection bid to challenger David Nygaard, but did so by only 212 votes, according to the City of Virginia Beach’s certified election results.

A “recount court” comprised of the Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court and two other appointed judges, “will determine the procedures to be followed during the recount, what information will be accessible to the parties, and for which candidate, if any, a challenged ballot should be counted,” according to the Virginia Department of Elections’ “Step-by-Step Instructions” for election recounts.

In Virginia, recounts can only be requested if the difference between the winning and losing candidates’ vote counts is “not more than one percent,” according to the department of elections’ recount guide. The vote count difference between candidates in all three elections being recounted was less than one percent.

Patterson could not immediately answer how much money would be paid to recount workers and observers, or precisely when the recounting would commence.

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