December 11, 2008
Goode announced Thursday morning that he plans to ask for late-arriving military ballots to be included in the recount of the close Fifth Congressional District Election in which he lost by 745 votes.
At issue are an unknown number of late-arriving absentee ballots from members of the U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We have said from the beginning that this recount is not about overturning the results of the Election. This is about getting it right," said Congressman Goode in a statement. "One way we know we can get it right is to count the votes of the brave women and men in uniform who are serving our Nation overseas. But if we leave their votes out, then we've done wrong by them."
Congress-Elect Tom Perriello concurred Thursday afternoon that all votes should be counted in the recount.
"Our brave troops serving overseas absolutely deserve to have their voices heard and their votes counted in this election and all elections as they fight for our Democracy. That is why I strongly believe that those military ballots in question that arrived late and were held aside should be included in the vote count of Virginia's 5th District," said Perriello. He added, "I have consistently and fervently expressed my support for our troops, whether through my work as a national security analyst in advocating better strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan, or by my early support of Senator Jim Webb's 21st Century GI Bill."
The military votes in question are the subject of a federal lawsuit in which the U.S. Department of Justice seeks to force Virginia to accept overseas absentee ballots that arrived after the 7:00 p.m. deadline on November 4, 2008. Thousands of those ballots may have been mailed out late this year by Registrars in Virginia, leaving some military and other overseas voters as little as 14 days to receive the ballots at their posts.
Because the results of the Fifth Congressional District Race will not be certified until the Recount Court finishes their proceedings on December 17, late-arriving military ballots could still be counted.
Jessica Barba, communications director for Congressman-elect Perriello says both Goode and Perriello agree on the issue of counting late-arriving military ballots in the recount, and regrets that "Mr. Goode is choosing to insert politics into the mix."
Both Democratic and Republican estimates for the number of ballots in question are far below any margin of significance. The Perriello campaign estimates that the number of late-arriving military ballots in question is between 30 and 60, based on information collected from individual localities.