Virginia election board postpones draw to decide tied delegate race

Virginia election board postpones draw to decide tied delegate race
© Shelly Simonds/YouTube

Virginia officials on Tuesday said they were delaying a lottery that would determine the winner of a tied race for a seat in the state's House of Delegates, after Democratic candidate Shelly Simonds filed a legal challenge disputing the tie, according to Reuters.

No new date was immediately set for the drawing of lots, which was originally set for Wednesday.

Simonds filed a challenge with the Virginia Board of Elections over a vote that was counted for her opponent, GOP incumbent Del. David Yancey, a day after an official recount certified her the victor by one vote.

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Simonds told reporters on Tuesday that the court must rule in her favor to prevent “recounts [becoming] a never-ending spiral of courtroom challenges.”

The Virginia House Republican Caucus told Reuters in a statement that it was reviewing the court filings. 

“We believe the court acted appropriately and that the integrity of the process is without question,” spokesman Parker Slaybaugh said.

A three-judge panel ruled last week that the ballot would be counted, bringing the race to a tie. Simonds's attorneys called the decision a “clear legal error,” running “contrary to Virginia law.” 

"This was not only contrary to the plain language of Virginia law, but was also contrary to the language that counsel for Mr. Yancey insisted be included in the Recount Consent Order,” Simonds's court filing said.

The fate of the contested ballot will decide control of the Virginia House of Delegates, with a possible Democratic victory causing an evenly split chamber. An original Election Day count put Yancey 10 votes ahead of Simonds, but a Democrat-requested recount brought Simonds just past her opponent.