Allen Campaign Closely Watching Vote-Checking Process

By Kevin Mooney | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

Richmond, Va. ( - Pointing to an earlier vote recount in Virginia, former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie expressed optimism Wednesday that the situation could change for Sen. George Allen, currently trailing Democrat Jim Webb by a slim margin.

Speaking at Allen's campaign headquarters here, campaign advisor Gillespie said the difference between the candidates stood at 7,146 votes, or three-tenths of one percent.

He said the current canvassing process - a routine, procedural review of the votes by electoral board officials across the state to see, for example, whether any mathematical errors had been made - was being closely watched.

Already, as a result of reviewing votes, Webb's tally had been reduced by more than 1,000 votes in one Stafford County precinct, he said. It would take until about Nov. 14 to complete the canvassing process.

On the issue of a vote recount, Gillespie said the campaign was "following Virginia law."

Under state law, a candidate who lags by half a percentage point or less may request a recount. One who is behind by less than one percent but more than half a percent may also seek a recount, but at his or her own expense if the final tally does not alter the result.

Gillespie pointed to a recent recount precedent. Republican Bob McDonnell was elected as state attorney general in November 2005, winning by around 3,000 votes. An initial recount reduced the margin to 1,500 votes, and a final recount ended with his lead cut to 323 votes, he said. The process was finalized in early December of that year.

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