Provisional ballots proving crucial in Attorney General race

Posted at 8:10 PM, Nov 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-07 21:37:06-05

RICHMOND, Va.(WTVR) -- The race for the next Attorney General of Virginia has still not been decided.

Just hundreds of votes separate Democrat Mark Herring and Republican Mark Obenshain, 777 to be exact--at the time of publication. [VIEW 2013 ELECTION RESULTS HERE]

While all precincts have reported the campaigns are focusing its attention now to provisional ballots, the ballots cast by voters who fail to meet the standards that poll workers are instructed to follow on election day.

People who cast provisional ballots usually do so because poll workers don't have the voter registered, a voter forgets to bring proper identification, or a particular voter is listed on logs as receiving an absentee ballot.

"I think the parties are just as confused about provisional ballots as the average voter," Larry Haake, Chesterfield's County Registrar said.

In the Richmond metro area, Richmond City has 74 provisional ballots that need to be declared valid or invalid, Henrico has 300 plus, Chesterfield has 170, and Hanover 43.

Each registrar is tasked with investigating each provisional valid to determine whether or not it should be counted or not.

Voters who failed to have proper identification have until noon Friday to show ID to the local registrar or that vote is discarded.

The State Requires all provisional ballots to be submitted by Wednesday of next week.

The County and City electoral boards, appointed by local courts, oversee local registrar decision making.

"The majority on the electoral board represents the party of the current governor," Haake told CBS 6 reporter Joe St. George.

Haake says anywhere between a third to a half of his provisional ballots end up being validated.

Political parties do have access to the logs to see who cast absentee ballots, but they are not able to see how voters actually voted.