Democrat lawyer bullies observer at Fairfax County, Va., electoral board

Democrat lawyer bullies observer at Fairfax County, Va., electoral board

Virginia Seal on fistIn a ballot canvass for the super-heated Virginia attorney general election — where the GOP candidate’s lead has slipped to a mere 17 votes statewide — Republicans are steamed about a Democratic Party lawyer bullying an observer in Fairfax County.

In the video that follows the break, attorney John Farrell can be seen brusquely telling the unidentified observer, “You’re only here because I’m letting you be here.”

State Republican Party Chairman Pat Mullins was apoplectic.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more disturbing comment in my life. This man isn’t interested in seeing ballots counted. He’s interested in making sure that Republicans are at a disadvantage,” Mullins said.

Fairfax County GOP Chairman Jay McConville said the video “gives people a glimpse into what we have to deal with.”

Both parties are wrangling in Fairfax County, where 493 provisional ballots are scheduled to be counted Tuesday.

As of Monday morning, the State Board of Elections website showed Republican Mark Obenshain with a 17-vote lead over Democrat Mark Herring.

Thanks to a batch of 3,200 votes that turned up late Friday in the heavily Democratic county, Herring virtually erased Obenshain’s statewide lead.

Brian Schoeneman, secretary of the Fairfax Electoral Board, said the panel has accepted 136 of the 493 unopened provisional ballots.

“We haven’t rejected any,” he told None of the votes have been entered in the state database.

Fairfax’s final determination and tally will be made at an open meeting set for 1 p.m. Tuesday. Provisional ballots are cast by voters who didn’t present legally permissible identification at the polls.

After the State Board of Elections certifies vote totals on Nov. 25, a statewide recount will be conducted in December.

Suspicions flared in Richmond on Sunday, when Republican operatives complained they were “locked out” of a meeting Chief Registrar Kirk Showalter had with a Democratic member of the city’s Electoral Board.

Showalter told Watchdog she was meeting with “my bosses” — the city’s three board members — one at a time. Two are Republicans and one is a Democrat.

“No outsiders were allowed in,” Showalter said.

Republican Party Communications Director Garren Shipley was unpersuaded.

“Somebody else needed to be in that room. People need to have confidence in the system. This certainly doesn’t look good,” he said.

The AG race is the Republican Party’s last hope to hold a statewide executive office, having lost the governorship and lieutenant governor’s office.

Once the statewide vote is certified on Nov. 25, a statewide recount will be conducted in December.

At midnight on election night, Obsenshain, a state senator from Harrisonburg, held a 7,000-vote lead. By 1 a.m. Wednesday, his lead over fellow state Sen. Herring, D-Leesburg, had shrunk to 700.

In percentage terms, both candidates are tied at 49.88% in the race involving more than 2.21 million votes.

Cross-posted at

Kenric Ward

Kenric Ward

Kenric Ward is a national correspondent and writes for the Texas Bureau of Formerly a reporter and editor at two Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers, Kenric has won dozens of state and national news awards for investigative articles. His most recent book is “Saints in Babylon: Mormons and Las Vegas.”


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