No change in clerk’s race outcome, despite finding another vote for Bailey during recount

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Markowitz’s margin of victory reduced to just nine votes

By Randy Arrington

LURAY, Dec. 14 — One-term incumbent Grayson Markowitz will remain the clerk of the Page County Circuit Court for the next eight years following Thursday’s recount of 8,766 ballots cast in the four-way race this fall. Despite the addition of a handful of ballots, Markowitz still retained his victory by a narrow margin of only nine votes.

During the recount, Markowitz picked up two votes (2,446), while independent challenger and former clerk staffer Kim Bailey added three (2,437). The changes came from the “hand counted ballots” that the electronic voting machine could not read, according to Page County Voter Registrar Carol Gaunt.

“I guess you could say votes were found, but more like exhausted election officers wrote down a number incorrectly,” Gaunt stated.

At 8 a.m. on Thursday, election officials moved their equipment and ballots to the courthouse, according to the registrar, and “held Logic and Accuracy testing just before 9” a.m. Gaunt stated that, “Judge Iden gave permission to begin [the recount] about 11:45” a.m. The group did not complete their work until 8:30 p.m.

Ten officers of election were selected from a pool of 16 to conduct the recount. Each party to the recount was allowed to choose eight.

“Our election officers that participated in the recount did a fabulous job and the teamwork was unmatched,” the county registrar stated.

“The machine tapes were confirmed,” Gaunt added, “further proof that they are accurate.”

When the unofficial results were released late on the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 7 — with five of six precincts reporting (excluding provisional ballots) — independent incumbent Grayson Markowitz had retained his seat by a mere 14 votes over Bailey. Once 48 provisional ballots had been added to the mix, the margin narrowed to only 10.

A hearing was held in circuit court on Nov. 27 for a petition filed by Bailey requesting a recount. The request was granted and the recount was scheduled for Dec. 14.

While the four-way clerk’s race was decided by only nine votes — 18 ballots were cast for write-in candidates in the clerk’s race.

Here’s the final tally:

  • 2,446 — Grayson Markowitz, 27.9%
  • 2,437 — Kim Bailey, 27.8%
  • 2,046 — Stephanie Breeden, 23.4%
  • 1,820 — Shirron Ballard, 20.8%

In Virginia, a recount is not automatic, regardless of the margin — it must be requested. Bailey was the only local candidate (albeit in the tightest race) to request a recount, despite several close races on Nov. 7. A seat on the Shenandoah Council was decided by 49 votes (among 741 ballots cast); a seat on the board of supervisors showed a margin of only 129 votes (among 1,777 ballots cast); and even the highly controversial sheriff’s race came to a margin of 348 votes — less than 4 percent of the 8,911 ballots cast in that race.

However, the nine-vote margin in the clerk’s race — among the 8,766 ballots cast — represents a difference of just over one-tenth of 1 percent of the ballots cast.

A candidate has 10 days from the day the votes are certified to petition the court for a recount. Since the local electoral board certified the local count on Monday, Nov. 13 — the 10-day window extended to Thursday, Nov. 23, Thanksgiving. Due to the holiday, the window for the recount petition was extended to Monday, Nov. 27.

Check Page County election results by CLICKING HERE.



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