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After ruling, Virginia legislature's majority to be chosen by lot
22 December 2017, 01:00 | Floyd Cook
Virginia recount now tied with state House control in the balance
Now the votes for the Newport News seat are tied, 11,608 to 11,608.
Simonds' win means a 50-50 split in the State House, where Republicans had clung to a one-seat majority after losing 15 seats last month in a night of Democratic victories up and down the ballot, which were widely seen as a rebuke to President Donald Trump.
In a recount, Democrat challenger Shelly Simonds won House District 94 race by a final count of 11,608 to 11,607, but a three-judge panel refused to certify the vote Wednesday. "As we have said consistently throughout this process, we are committed to an open, fair and honest election in which every lawful vote is counted".
As the nation closely watches a nail-biting recount and subsequent challenge and tie in a Virginia election, it's worth noting that election ties, particularly at local levels, do happen every once in a while ― and in most states, ties are broken in the same way Virginia's will be: by tossing a coin, drawing straws or another game of sheer luck.
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. His lawyer said that was the first time in Virginia that an election result had been changed in a recount.
He said the ballot in question contained a mark for Democrat ShellySimonds as well as a mark for Republican Del. One might infer a Republican preference, but there is no way to know for sure, and hence in my opinion the court should not be making inferences, although I will allow I do not know the legal standard in Virginia.
At the local level, ties happen fairly frequently: In 2012, a city council election in Walton, Kentucky, that tied at 669 votes each was decided by a coin toss; in 2014, candidates in Poplarville, Mississippi, who had tied 177-177 in an alderman's race drew straws to determine the victor; and this year, candidates drew cards from a deck to pick the victor in a tied city council race in Cripple Creek, Colorado ― to name a few.
"The court declares there is no victor in this election", said Newport News Circuit Court Judge Bryant L. Sugg, after the judges deliberated for more than two hours.
Meanwhile, there are two more recounts to be conducted: one began today in House District 68, and the other begins on Thursday in House District 28. At this time, the matter is still with the recount court. Will there be a coin toss?
"They're going to have to actually draw by lots", Mr. Kays said, with a shade of disbelief.
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