- The winner of a Virginia House of Delegates election that is currently tied up after a recount will be selected when election officials essentially choose a name out of a hat.
- The winner will determine which party has control of the House of Delegates.
Which party has control of the Virginia House of Delegates will be determined Thursday, when election officials select the winner of a race that is somehow, remarkably, tied up. They will pick the winner, essentially, out of a hat.
The November race between Democratic candidate Shelly Simonds and Republican incumbent David Yancey had been too close to call and went to a recount. Last month, Simonds was determined to be the winner by just one vote, beating Yancey with a final tally of 11,608 to 11,607.
That victory would have led to the Virginia House of Delegates being split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans.
Republicans conceded the seat, and their majority, leaving only the need for a three-judge panel to certify the results.
But the race took another turn when the judges decided to count a disputed ballot as a vote for Yancey, tying up the results. The voter had selected the Republican candidate at all other levels, but seemed to accidentally fill in two bubbles in the House of Delegates race.
— The Virginian-Pilot (@virginianpilot) December 20, 2017
According to Virginia law, “If two or more persons have an equal number of votes for any county, city, town, or district office, and a higher number than any other person, the electoral board shall proceed publicly to determine by lot which of the candidates shall be declared elected.”
Now, in what amounts to a coin flip, the winner will be selected by the same process that is used to determine the order in which candidates appear on the ballot.
The Virginian Pilot reported that the process involves pieces of paper with the candidate’s names being printed out, cut to the same size, and placed in film canisters, which are then placed in a bowl and shaken up. Then, an election board member will pick one.