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Error costs teen candidate 300 votes in school board election

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Prince George School Board member-elect Reeve Ashcraft

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. — Teen candidate Reeve Ashcraft admitted he was a little surprised when he learned he was the top vote getter among candidates running for the Prince George County School Board. After all, the 18-year-old son of County Administrator Percy Ashcraft was just a few months removed from his own high school graduation.

Two days later, we have learned  Ashcraft was in fact not the top vote getter on Election Day. An error gave Ashcraft 300 additional votes. Prince George County General Registrar Katherine Tyler explained the error was discovered when the Electoral Board met the following day to go over the numbers.

She said it appeared the person relaying the numbers from the voting precinct to election officials mistook a four (as in 400 votes) for a seven (as in 700 votes).

“It happens sometimes, since the workers have been there since 4:30 in the morning,” Tyler said about the error. “Thank goodness it did not change the outcome.”

For the Prince George School Board District 2 election, the top three vote getters were elected into office. With the loss of 300 votes, Ashcraft fell from the top vote getter, to having the second most votes.

Tyler said human errors were one reason why the initial vote counts are always considered unofficial. Officials numbers are reported to the State Board of Elections after local election officials pour over the numbers with a “fine tooth comb,” she said.

A canvassing of the District 1 Prince George County Supervisor election resulted in incumbent Jerry Skalsky picking up one vote. His opponent Renee Taylor Garnett did not gain or lose any votes. Garnett’s 1,217 votes put her within the less than a percentage point threshold to ask for a recount once the numbers are deemed official. She would have 10 calendar days to petition the Prince George County Circuit Court for a recount.