In what would be a stunning development, Republicans could end up winning the Virginia State Senate despite falling one seat short on Tuesday.
According to investigative reporter Luke Rosiack, Democrat Ghazala Hashmi, who won 62 percent of the vote in Virginia’s Senate District 15, allegedly lied about her residency in multiple instances. Not only could that disqualify her electoral win, but lying on an election form is also a felony.
Virginia Senate candidates are required to live in the district they are running for, and Hashmi filed candidacy paperwork saying she lived in an apartment on Boulder Lake Drive in North Chesterfield in Senate District 15.
But four neighbors filed a complaint saying she actually lives outside the district on Bosham Lane in Midlothian, and they provided a spreadsheet saying they had driven by the house 62 times during the month of October to document her residency. The notes include her car being there late at night and early in the morning, and her leaving the house shortly after 8 a.m. It also includes photographic evidence.
This is where things go from bad to worse for Hashmi. It seems fairly clear that she simply rented an apartment in District 15 as a way to get around the residency requirement. Still, spreadsheets of her movements would be largely circumstantial and hard to argue in court. After all, what is the legal line for someone to actually live in the place they are renting in order for it to count as their primary residence? That would be something for a judge to clarify.
The problem for Hashmi, though, is that she also didn’t claim her $600,000 home in Midlothian when she filled out her Certificate of Candidacy Qualification. That is a felony, and it also shows an intent to hide where she really lives.
To make the case further, Hashmi’s residence in Midlothian was in her old district (District 12) before re-districting. She only rented the apartment in question after deciding to run in District 15, likely due to its new partisan lean. If that’s not technically breaking residency laws regarding candidates, it’s certainly breaking the spirit of them.
Hashmi’s opponent, Hayden Fisher, is pledging to stop the certification of the election and have her disqualified.
Fisher told The Daily Wire, “I plan to stop them from certifying the election. She’s disqualified, that means I ran unopposed as a matter of law.”
“There’s no question whatsoever that she does not live in that apartment,” he said. “She definitely clearly intentionally lied on that form. And she does not reside in the district so she should not represent it.”
“She made no genuine effort to actually move into the district, she just rented an apartment. Why don’t you just sell your house and move into the district? She just doesn’t even care. The arrogance is mind boggling,” he said.
This seems very open and shut as far as the legalities go. The question is whether any judge will be willing to do the right thing and fully adjudicate the issue. Hopefully, the Virginia GOP is already on the case getting legal challenges prepared. Lying on an election form and misleading voters about one’s residence should not be taken lightly. If someone can get away with that, it only promotes more cheating in elections, and to be clear, that’s what this is if everything alleged is true.