Updates this week to the State Department of Elections website show vote totals in Richmond’s second district council race dropping from 14,086 to 13,259 — a difference of 827 votes. While earlier results showed candidate Tavarris Spinks leading Katherine Jordan by 26 votes, the change saw Spinks’ vote totals drop from 7,056 to 5,961. Jordan gained 165 votes, giving her 7,195. Spinks announced Thursday that he has filed a FOIA with the registrar.
“It gives me no pleasure having to question the credibility of this reporting; however, due to the unusually dramatic discrepancy between the number of initially reported votes and those posted now, voters in the Second District deserve to know how and why this disparity occurred,” Spinks said in a statement.
975 provisional ballots are still uncounted. A COVID-19 outbreak in the registrar’s office has delayed a meeting for consideration of the ballots until next week, according to Registrar Kirk Showalter.
“I support [Spinks] and any candidate asking for clarification and transparency in their race results. If our results flip, I will fully support him as our City Council representative,” currently leading opponent Jordan said in a tweet.
In an email Friday, Showalter told The Virginia Star that final results would be unavailable until next week. “Due to the COVID closure, no meeting can be held this week. We are now looking at Tuesday,” Showalter said. “We have finished with all precincts and updated the State website. The only outstanding matter is the provisional ballots.”
Spinks and his campaign manager criticized Showalter for a lack of clarity, but they emphasized that their complaints should not be seen as evidence of voter fraud. Spinks said, “I want to make myself very clear; I will fully respect any outcome, including the current figures, as soon as voters can be assured that results have been accurately calculated. If my opponent maintains her victory, I will fully support her as our next Council Representative.”
“Voters must have the utmost faith in our democratic system so I urge Ms. Showalter and the electoral board to acknowledge the damage that has been done to the credibility of the Registrar’s office and promptly formulate a plan to effectively rebuild the trust of the Richmond electorate,” Spinks added.
“Ms. Showalter’s track record of resentment and indifference towards transparency has left the electorate with no reason to trust her word,” Spinks’ campaign manager Kelley Losier said in a statement emailed to The Star. “If she’s sincere about proving she’s qualified to manage Richmond’s democratic process, all she needs to do is show the receipts.”
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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photos “Katherine Jordan” and “Tavarris Spinks” by Katherine Jordan and Tavarris Spinks.