Virginia's Contested Election Is Decided by Lot

Incumbent David Yancey's name is pulled from bowl
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2018 11:00 AM CST
This image provided by the City of Newport News via the Virginian-Pilot shows a copy of the ballot at the center of a recount election dispute.   (City of Newport News/The Virginian-Pilot via AP)
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(Newser) – Shelly Simonds and David Yancey's names were written on slips of paper and put inside old film canisters Thursday morning, and one was fished from a bowl on loan from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, reports the Washington Post. It was Yancey's, and the draw decided a contentious contest for the 94th District race in Newport News. Simonds had been declared the winner following a recount, with the 11,608-to-11,607 vote seemingly ending 17 years of Republican control in the Virginia House. But judges evened the count to 11,608 for both after reviewing a contested ballot, and Simonds failed in her attempt to have a court rule that election officials sidestepped proper procedure when they handed Yancey, the incumbent, the additional vote.

The Post reports the law grants the loser the right to request a second recount, which it sees as keeping thing in limbo, though the Richmond Times-Dispatch notes Simonds didn't immediately indicate whether she planned to exercise that right. The House's next session begins Wednesday, but if a recount is in progress, Yancey likely won't be seated, keeping the 100-member House's split 50 Republicans to 49 Democrats for the time being. CBS News notes that after Yancey's name was drawn, the second canister was pulled and opened to verify that both names had properly been included. (Read more Virginia stories.)

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