Tied Virginia Race That Was Headed for Name-Drawing Gets Another Twist


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    Shelly Simonds reacting to the news that she won a Virginia House race by one vote after a recount on Dec. 19.

        Joe Fudge/The Daily Press, via Associated Press        
        RICHMOND — A race that would tip control of Virginia’s House of Delegates, whose constant and nearly comic pendulums between candidates has attracted national attention, took one more twist on Tuesday when a drawing to break a tie was unexpectedly postponed.

The Virginia State Board of Elections announced it would delay a drawing of lots after receiving a letter from lawyers for the Democratic candidate, Shelly Simonds, that she was legally fighting the ruling of a recount court last week.
The election board’s one-line announcement, on Twitter, came just hours after an announcement that there would be a live video stream of the drawing, which was to be held adjacent to the State Capitol, in response to the huge interest in the race beyond Virginia.
Republicans, who have held majorities for 17 years in the State House, cling to a 51-49 edge after a Democratic wave in elections last month. A Simonds victory would force a bipartisan power sharing and give Ralph Northam, the Democratic governor-elect, an improved shot at enacting liberal priorities.

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A drawing in the event of a tie — picking out of a bowl one of two film canisters with the candidates’ names inside — is decreed by state law. That was where the race in House District 94 was headed until Tuesday, in a contest that has had more pirouettes than a prima ballerina since voters went to the polls seven weeks ago, choosing the Republican incumbent, David Yancey, by 10 votes.

    Election officials in Newport News, Va., examined ballots that a computer failed to scan during the recount.

        Ben Finley/Associated Press        
        James Alcorn, the chairman of the election board, said that although the scheduled drawing was in full compliance with the law, “neutral election administrators should not be choosing election winners — or influencing the next speaker of the House.”

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