House of Delegates race

27 December, 2017, 03:13 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Democrat Shelly Simonds and Republican David Yancey

A drawing of lots to settle a tied Virginia legislative race that could shift the statehouse balance of power will be postponed, election officials in the US state said on Tuesday, after the Democrat candidate mounted a legal fight.

If Simonds were declared the victor in the 94th District in Newport News, it would split control of the legislature 50-50 - with a newly elected Democratic govenror. Simonds and Yancey are tied at 11,608 votes each.

The Virginia State Board of Elections plans to break the tie picking the candidates' names out of a bowl on Wednesday.

The outcome of this race will determine which party controls the House.

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Ezra Reese, an attorney for Simonds, said Tuesday that the court erred in following election law because it allowed an uncounted ballot to be challenged by Yancey's campaign after the recount concluded.

Simonds appeared to have lost November's election by 10 votes. A day later, a court in Newport News declared a tie. The Virginia House Republican Caucus said in a statement that it was reviewing the new court filings.

Simonds told reporters that the case had implications not only for her contest but for the integrity of state elections as a whole, saying that without a court ruling in her favor, "recounts would become a never-ending spiral of courtroom challenges".

The postponement comes after lawyers representing Simonds filed a motion asking the board to delay the lot draw.

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If Simonds were to win the seat, Republicans would lose majority control of the House of Delegates after 17 years.

The court ultimately counted the vote for Yancey, which brought the tally to 11,608 votes each.

The Simonds campaign filed its motion electronically. The ballot wasn't counted due to the confusion over the voter's intention.

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