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Virginia election board to pick winner of tied race by random draw

Virginia election board to pick winner of tied race by random draw
© Moriah Ratner

The Virginia Board of Elections will randomly pick the winner of the tied race for a House of Delegates seat on Dec. 27.

The Virginian-Pilot reported that the random drawing will take place next Wednesday at a yet-to-be announced location after board Chairman James Alcorn tweeted out the date.

According to the Pilot, the names of the two tied candidates will be printed on pieces of paper, which will then be placed inside separate film canisters and into a bowl. A member of the board of elections will pick one of the canisters, who is then declared the winner.

The race between Democratic candidate Shelly Simonds and GOP incumbent Del. David Yancey was declared a tie on Wednesday after a three-judge panel reviewed a ballot that had originally been ruled invalid.

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Yancey originally won the race by only 10 votes, triggering a recount. The original recount showed Simonds winning the seat in the state’s 94th District by just one vote.

But a ballot that had been thrown out was then counted for Yancy, producing a tie vote. 

The ballot had bubbles filled in for both candidates, but had a slash through the bubble for Simonds. The ballot was also filled out for other GOP candidates.

According to Virginia state law, tied races are decided “by lot.”

If Simonds wins the random draw, the Virginia House of Delegates will be split 50-50 for the first time in two decades. Republicans currently hold a 51-49 margin.