The race for Virginia’s 94th House District entered unprecedented electoral territory today when a three-judge panel ruled the race tied when they accepted a ballot for Republican Del. David Yancey that had previously been ruled invalid.
Yesterday, the recount appeared to show that Democratic challenger Shelly Simonds had won by a single vote. But in shades of Florida 2000, a ballot that appeared to be mismarked was ruled to have been cast for the Republican.
“The court declares there is no winner in this election,” Circuit Court Judge Bryant Sugg said after the deliberation, according to The Washington Post.
The ballot reportedly was filled in for Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie, as well as the two GOP candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general. The ballot had bubbles filled in for both Yancey and Democratic challenger Shelly Simonds, but the bubble for Simonds had a slash through it, according to the Daily Press.
After arguments from lawyers on both sides, the three-judge panel ruled that the ballot should count as a vote for Yancey, thus leaving the district tied.
Tuesday’s recount unofficially gave Simonds a single-vote advantage over Yancey in the race after Simonds gained a net of 11 votes. But those results remained unofficial until certified by the panel.
According to the Daily Press, the recount will now go to the State Board of Elections to be certified.
Virginia state law says in the event of a tie in a state House race, the winner is chosen “by lot,” which could include a coin toss, according to The Washington Post.
I think they should roll the dice. That’s what voters do when they cast their ballot for any of these politicians.
What makes this situation so extraordinary is that the results of this race will decide whether the GOP keeps their House majority at 51-49 or representation is divided at 50-50.
You’ve no doubt been told since you became interested in politics that “every vote counts.” This is one case where truth is stranger than fiction.