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Mr. Judd, a Republican, told The Times-Dispatch that he did not make his comments to encourage a challenge of the election results.

“This is not intended to affect any procedure that might occur from here on out. What we did was today was ascertain the election. These folks are all duly elected as far as the board is concerned,” he said.

Virginia law states that a candidate contesting a race must detail “objections to the conduct or results of the election accompanied by specific allegations which, if proven true, would have a probable impact on the outcome of the election.”

The law gives the General Assembly wide latitude to act after hearing a candidate’s case in a contested election. Lawmakers have the authority to reject the appeal, to order a new election or even to declare a winner — whether it is the candidate who held the lead or the candidate who contested the election.