Judges are set to hear recount petitions in three Virginia House of Delegates races this week, while a fourth has yet to be scheduled.

The preliminary hearings mark the initial step in the recount process, which campaign and election officials said could be completed by Christmas.

Control of the House of Delegates is at stake with Republicans hoping to maintain, or improve, their 51-49 majority and Democrats hoping for an even split when lawmakers return to Richmond in January. Regardless of the outcome, the recount is not expected to rectify 147 votes cast in the wrong House races in the Stafford County and Fredericksburg area, and Democrats said Monday that they continue to consider their legal options.