Jessica M. Karmasek Dec. 10, 2013, 9:30pm

RICHMOND, Va. (Legal Newsline) -- A lawyer for Mark Obenshain, the Republican candidate who requested a recount in the Virginia attorney general's race, mentioned the possibility of contesting the election in the state's General Assembly during a court hearing Monday.

Attorney William Hurd told a three-member recount court that it is important for Obenshain's team to have complete access to electronic copies of poll books, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Tuesday.

Hurd pointed to Dec. 23, the deadline to formally challenge the recount results in the legislature.

At a hearing last week, Richmond Circuit Judge Beverly W. Snukals, who is the chief judge overseeing the recount, said Fairfax County will begin its recount Dec. 16. The rest of the state will begin Dec. 17 and 18.

Fairfax County has been given more time because of its population and voting machines.

Following the localities' recount, the three-judge court will meet to settle any challenged ballots Dec. 19. The state Supreme Court selected circuit judges Junius P. Fulton III, Joseph W. Milam Jr. and Snukals to oversee the recount.

Obenshain requested a recount in the race after the state Board of Elections certified his opponent, Democrat Mark Herring, as the state's next top lawyer.

According to the board, of the 2.2 million votes cast in the Nov. 5 election, Herring received 1,103,777 votes. Obenshain received 1,103,612 votes.

"This morning, we will be asking for a recount in the attorney general's race," Obenshain said in a statement Nov. 27.

"While we certainly would have preferred for the result to be settled on Nov. 5, over the last few weeks we have seen a fluctuating margin that currently sits at 165 votes separating us out of more than 2.2 million votes cast.

"It's the closest race in Virginia history, and as we have seen in other races around the country with margins this slim, this result could easily change when all is said and done."

Obenshain noted that of the four statewide races this century within a 300-vote margin, three have been overturned in a recount.

"The 0.007 percent margin in our race is closer than any of those," he said. "We owe it to the people of Virginia to make sure we get it right."

A spokesman for Obenshain told the Times-Dispatch that talk of contesting the election is "premature."

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