Thursday, December 21, 2017

Update: Va. House race ruled a tie; Republican wins random drawing, preserving GOP majority

UPDATE, Jan. 4: Republican David Yancey won a random drawing for the seat.

Election officials recounted ballots.
(Associated Press photo by Ben Finley)
UPDATE, Dec. 21: The winner of the race is in question after a three-judge panel would not certify the recount that ruled Democrat Shelly Simonds the winner by one vote. The panel said that a questionable ballot should be counted for Republican David Yancey, rendering the vote a tie. The ballot in question contained a mark for both Simonds and Yancey, but the voter drew a line through Simonds' name, which the judges believed indicated that they intended to vote for Yancey. Republicans challenged the recount in court yesterday, saying that the voter in question had voted for every other Republican on the ballot and had intended to vote for Yancey, The Washington Post reports.

"Virginia Board of Elections Chairman James Alcorn said on Twitter Thursday that the board will met Dec. 27 to break the tie," The Associated Press reports. "By law, the winner's name will be drawn at random by an elections official."

In a stark reminder that every vote can count, "a recount in a Newport News district appears to have flipped the outcome and moved the House of Delegates to a 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats, ending 17 years of GOP control," David Seidel and Mallory Noe-Payne report for NPR.

Democratic challenger Shelly Simonds will beat Republican incumbent David Yancey by one vote our of more than 23,000 cast, if a recount court certifies the results today. If so, neither party will have a majority in the House of Delegates, which will necessitate a power-sharing agreement not seen in the state since the 1990s, NPR reports. The final vote tally was 11,608 for Simonds and 11,607 for Yancey, Jessica Estepa reports for USA Today.

Simonds' victory is the final word in an election where Virginia Democrats erased a 32-seat GOP advantage in the House of Delegates. Republicans had controlled 66 of the chamber's 100 seats, NPR reports. Republicans have conceded the seat to Simonds, pending court confirmation. Democrats hope the power-sharing under a Democratic governor will lead to an expansion of Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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