Tied Va. House race to be decided next week

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This morning, the Republican official wrote a letter to the recount court explaining that he made the wrong decision yesterday, and that he believes the ballot should count for Delegate Yancey.

Tied votes, which are extremely rare, have occasionally been broken around the country by coin tosses or the like.

If Simonds wins the lot (or recount), the result will have the power to reshape Virginia state politics after Democrat Ralph Northam won the governor's race in November.

Republican Del. David E. Yancey entered Tuesday's recount in the 94th House District with a 10-vote lead over Democratic Shelly Simonds. "As we have said consistently throughout this process, we are committed to an open, fair and honest election in which every lawful vote is counted".

Democrats claimed historic gains in Virginia's statehouse last month, part of the party's first big wave of victories since Republican Donald Trump won the White House previous year. Yancey actually led after Election Day by the razor-thin margin of 11,601 to 11,591, but Tuesday's daylong recount in Newport News changed that.

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The additional vote for Yancey meant each candidate finished with exactly 11,608 votes. After review, the recount court agreed to count the ballot for Delegate Yancey. It also was a textbook lesson, in an age of fights over access to the voting booth, that every ballot matters. However, a Democratic official persuaded the Republican official to not count the ballot.

"The court declares there is no victor in this election", Judge Bryant Sugg said. If the House is tied when he takes office in January, Democrats will have more leverage to push for their policy priorities, like state Medicaid expansion. At this time, the matter is still with the recount court.

In the case of a tie in a House race, Virginia law says the victor will be chosen by what is known as a coin toss. One Virginia reporter noted that a coin toss had been used in at least one past local election.

"We are one vote closer to expanding Medicaid and extending access to affordable health care to almost 400,000 people", House Democratic leaders wrote. Just one vote secured Shelly Simonds' victory and shifted the balance of power in the Virginia House of Delegates, ending a 17-year Republican majority. Drawing lots is a insane way to choose a representative.