What if Virginia’s low-turnout races are close?

NBC News/YouTube Democrat Ralph Northam kept up his strong performance on Monday, the next of his three debates in the tight race for Virginia governor. The next tie-breaking ballot could be to the Democrat’s…

What if Virginia's low-turnout races are close?

NBC News/YouTube

Democrat Ralph Northam kept up his strong performance on Monday, the next of his three debates in the tight race for Virginia governor.

The next tie-breaking ballot could be to the Democrat’s advantage. Virginia’s polling laws are more specific than in many other states about how close a race should be to trigger the so-called trigger election, which gives the winner 50.5% of the vote, triggering a hand recount if no candidate reaches that threshold. There’s no public estimate on how close that would be.

Even if the Northern Virginia suburbs make up about 10% of the state’s voters, Northam, a pediatric neurologist, would be allowed to win a recount there with 48.5% of the vote. The state’s voter registration data shows that the Trump district surrounding Washington, D.C., Northam represented in the Virginia House of Delegates, actually voted for Hillary Clinton by about 42,000 votes.

However, it’s still unclear whether an even lean in these heavily Democratic Northern Virginia precincts will be enough to push Democrats over the 50% threshold. The final undecided district is also in a heavily Democratic neighborhood, so if a close vote there for Northam is enough, there would be more Democrats in the State Senate, the party’s only legislative body in Virginia, as well.

By Cole Weisblatt, CNBC.com

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