Coin flip could decide dramatic Virginia House race

Lawyers for Yancey told the three-judge panel that a Republican-appointed recount official had second thoughts overnight about a ballot that was not counted Tuesday. The Republican Party has controlled the house for the last 17 years.

But after a challenge by Yancey on Wednesday ― around a contested ballot that had previously been uncounted ― a three-judge panel ruled that the ballot would count for the Republican delegate, meaning the race was now down to a tie.

"The court declares there is no victor in this election", said Newport News Circuit Court Judge Bryant L. Sugg.

A coin flip could decide the balance of power in the Virginia state legislature following a topsy-turvy race which is tied after a dramatic vote recount. Voters were choosing between David Yancey and Shelly Simonds as their representative to the Virginia House of Delegates.

The day after a recount appeared to make Democrat Shelly Simonds the victor in the race, by one vote over Republican David Yancey - and split control of the Virginia House of Delegates, ending GOP control of the chamber after almost 20 years - a circuit court ruling set the vote as tied. As the Post explains, there is no procedural mechanism for breaking ties, which means that any bill with a realistic shot of making it out of the chamber will have to earn at least one vote's worth of bipartisan support.

"I am happy that every vote in Newport News was counted and that the judges took time to deliberate before rendering a decision".

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The final count was 11,608 to 11,607.

"Today's decision by the court was wrong, and Delegate-elect Shelly Simonds should have been certified the victor".

Election officials presiding over the five-hour recount on Tuesday had discarded that ballot. In a more recent example, two opponents in a 2015 MS state congressional race tied ― and broke their tie by drawing straws.

Willard Hoskins, 78, a Republican-leaning voter in the district, said he had voted for Mr. Yancey, never expecting how close the race would become.

"We asked the recount Court to consider this ballot".

And there might be hope for whichever candidate loses the draw. One Virginia reporter noted that a coin toss had been used in at least one past local election. Either way, exactly half of the voters are going to be disappointed.

  • Megan Austin