Stafford County’s Griffis–Widewater District supervisor race appears headed for a recount.
The unofficial results from that race Tuesday show newcomer Tinesha Allen beating incumbent Jack Cavalier by 18 votes out of more than 4,200 cast, a difference of .42 percent. The state will cover the cost of a recount if the margin is within half a percentage point after the vote is certified.
Cavalier said a recount is needed because of ballot problems reported by some voters.
“It’s unfortunate, but it’s real,” Cavalier said. “I think an inspection of the ballots is in order, and worth taking another look.
“I think there were discrepancies, particularly at polling places in the Griffis and Barrett precinct,” he added. “On the ballots, I heard people’s addresses weren’t turning up the right people to vote for.”
Provisional ballots from the precincts will be addressed Friday, and the Virginia Department of Elections will certify the election Nov. 12.
Cavalier could then file a petition for a recount with Stafford’s Circuit Court. Within seven days of filing, Chief Judge Charles Sharp would call a preliminary hearing and set the rules for the recount.
Allen said she supports the process in place to ensure elections are fair.
“Whatever the outcome, I’ll respect that, and I hope [Cavalier] will, too,” she said. “If it comes out I win, I hope he’s gracious enough to allow me to do my job and I’ll do the same if he comes out the winner.”
On Election Day, some Stafford County voters claimed they were given the wrong ballot at the polls, while others said their ballot was missing information.
“People may have mistakenly thought that every candidate on their sample ballot was going to be on their actual ballot,” said County Registrar Anna Rainey.
A recount would be done by machine on every ballot in the Griffis, Widewater, Harbour and Barrett precincts that make up the district, Rainey said.
“On a recount, the machines are programmed to only look at that one race,” she said. “Over and under ballots will be rejected by the machines and election officials will take a look at each one of those.”
An “over vote” occurs when a voter selects more than the maximum number of selections allowed on the ballot, while an “under vote” occurs when the number of choices selected by a voter is less than the maximum number allowed for that election.
Those ballots will be reviewed by election officials selected by the local Democratic and Republican parties.
“All the rules will be laid out in black and white on the order,” said Kathleen Sterne, Stafford’s clerk of the court.
Allen said she will wait for the county and the state to render a decision.
“I’ll abide by their decision,” said Allen. “I remain even-keeled. I’m not worried. Everything happens for a reason.”