Voters sue for election redo in Va. House race; Recount delays swearing-in for Stafford Co. supervisor

WASHINGTON — Stafford County has agreed to delay outgoing Del. Mark Dudenhefer’s swearing-in as Garrisonville District supervisor Thursday night until a recount is completed after a strong suggestion from a local judge.

“Stafford County is following the suggestion,” county spokeswoman Shannon Howell said in an email.

Dudenhefer, a Republican, beat Democrat Laura Sellers by just 12 votes out of 5,216 cast in the final results certified by the county’s electoral board. Sixteen of the votes were write-ins.

“I have voluntarily stepped aside so the event can be free of drama,” Dudenhefer said in an email to WTOP. “I will be sworn in at a later date.”

A recount in the race is scheduled for Tuesday.

After the ballots are recounted, a three-judge panel will declare a winner.

Lawsuit seeks House election redo in 28th District

Another Stafford County race for the 28th District is one of four House of Delegates races heading for recounts over the next two weeks that will determine which party controls the chamber.

The recount is scheduled for Dec. 21.

Voters in that district covering parts of Stafford County and Fredericksburg filed an amended lawsuit late Wednesday in federal court in Alexandria asking a judge to order a redo of that election.

Last month, Judge T.S. Ellis had suggested that rerunning the election might be the fairest outcome after at least 384 registered voters spread across three different House districts were found to be assigned to the wrong district in the Fredericksburg area. At least 147 of those voters cast ballots in the Nov. 7 election.

Republican Bob Thomas beat Democrat Joshua Cole by 82 votes, according to the results certified by the State Board of Elections.

In addition to the federal lawsuit filed by voters backed by the House Democratic Caucus, the losing candidate after the recount could also file an election contest in the House of Delegates, asking state lawmakers to order an election redo.

Recounts scheduled elsewhere in Virginia

A recount begins next week in Fairfax County, where Republican Del. Tim Hugo leads Democrat Donte Tanner by 106 votes in the 40th District. The recount is scheduled for Dec. 13 and 14.

Dec. 19, a recount in Newport News is set to determine whether Republican Del. David Yancey keeps his 10-vote margin over Democrat Shelly Simonds in the 94th District.

And on Dec. 20, a recount in the Richmond area will determine whether Democrat Dawn Adams becomes Virginia’s first openly lesbian delegate. She leads Del. Manoli Loupassi by 336 votes in the 68th District. Loupassi had conceded the race, but filed for the recount anyway due to the tight margin.

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