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Control of Virginia's State House Could Be Decided by a Coin Toss

22 December 2017

Although results are not official until certified by a three-judge panel on Wednesday, state Democrats declared victory, and Republican leaders in the House congratulated Simonds.

Now the 94th House District is tied.

Because Republicans now control 50 seats in the body to Democrats' 49 seats, the random decision could hand Republicans a majority, or leave power evenly split between the parties.

The results of a recount on Tuesday showed Democrat Shelly Simonds beating Republican incumbent David Yancey by one vote, enough to shift the 100-member House of Delegates to an even 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans.

"I am happy that every vote in Newport News was counted and that the judges took time to deliberate before rendering a decision".

Virginia's State Senate is controlled by a Republican majority. As we all know, the recount process will not address the real problems with disenfranchisement of voters in the HD 28 election on November 7, so in addition to the ongoing developments in Newport News, there will be more to come in Stafford County and Fredericksburg between tomorrow and the beginning of the 2018 General Assembly session.

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"I just can't believe it, but it sounds like it's pretty solid", an excited Simonds, speaking from a bar with the sounds of celebration in the background, told reporters on a conference call. That would mean both Yancey and Simonds had 11,608 votes each. After review, the recount court agreed to count the ballot for Delegate Yancey.

Election officials presiding over the five-hour recount on Tuesday had discarded that ballot.

Here's an image of the ballot in question.

The ballot in question contained a mark for Democrat Shelly Simonds as well as a mark for Republican Del.

In most states ― about 35 total, according to a Washington Post analysis ― election ties are broken by "drawing lots," or, in other words, in a game of chance. At this time, the matter is still with the recount court. The State Board of Elections will publicly meet to make a determination by drawing lots, after which the loser may request an additional recount.

One year after a panel of three federal judges upheld Virginia's law requiring a photo ID to vote, the balance of power in Virginia's legislature rests on a single vote. Drawing lots is a insane way to choose a representative.

Control of Virginia's State House Could Be Decided by a Coin Toss