in the latest dramatic twist in a contest that is likely to decide control of the state House, a three-judge panel certified the 94th District in Newport News as tied at 11,608 to 11,608 on Wednesday, after a “questionable” ballot came to light.
An image of the ballot in question obtained by Political dig shows bubbles filled in for both candidates, with a line through the bubble for Simonds. Reasonable minds may disagree as to whether the intent of this voter to select Yancey was clear. But this much is certainly clear: the single vote has made all the difference.
But the conservative judges ruled that that ballot should be counted for Yancy, leaving the race tied.
Now, Virginia leaves the tied election completely up to chance. Under Virginia law, the tied election will be determined by a coin flip or drawing straws.
This is no joke — the winner of a closely-watched race in a Virginia House election will be randomly selected by plucking a name out of a glass bowl, Board of Elections Chairman James Alcorn announced Thursday.
If Republican Yancey keeps his seat, then Republicans will likely enjoy a 51-49 majority in the House, although there is still at least one election making its way through the courts. If the Democrat Simonds wins, then the Virginia House will be tied 50-50, requiring a lot more compromise and likely having significant policy implications.
Take a look at the image of the ballot in question. Which candidate got this vote?