Control of Virginia's House of Delegates could come down to drawing straws


A three-judge panel in Virginia decided Wednesday to count a ballot cast for a Republican in a race for the state’s House of Delegates that was decided by just one vote, meaning the contest is now a tie.

A recount completed Tuesday determined Democrat Shelly Simonds had defeated Republican incumbent David Yancey by just one vote. The race is being closely watched because control of the Virginia House of Delegates hinges on its outcome.

Judges on the Newport News Circuit Court determined Wednesday that a ballot on which the voter had marked the bubbles for both Yancey and Simonds, and then tried to clarify which one, should have been counted for Yancey rather than discarded during the recount. 

11 PHOTOS
Virginia Democrat Shelly Simonds
See Gallery
Virginia Democrat Shelly Simonds
RICHMOND, VA - JANUARY 04: Virginia House of Delegates candidate Shelly Simonds (R) (D-VA), accompanied by her daughter Georgia Danehy (L) and husband Paul Danehy (R) attends a meeting of the Virginia State Board of Elections January 4, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia. Simonds and Republican candidate Del. David Yancey (R-VA) were locked in a tied race that was decided by pulling a name from a bowl with the two candidates names inside the bowl. Yancey's name was pulled from the bowl and Republicans retained control of the Virginia House of Delegates, though an additional recount in the race is still possible. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - JANUARY 04: Slips of paper with the names of Virginia House of Delegates candidates Shelly Simonds (D-VA) and David Yancey (R-VA) are shown during a meeting of the Virginia State Board of Elections January 4, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia. The slips of paper were later placed inside old film cannisters and drawn from a bowl to decide a tied race between the two candidates. Yancey's name was pulled from the bowl and Republicans retained control of the Virginia House of Delegates, though an additional recount in the race is still possible. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - JANUARY 04: Slips of paper with the names of Virginia House of Delegates candidates Shelly Simonds (D-VA) and David Yancy (R-VA) are drawn from a bowl during a meeting of the Virginia State Board of Elections January 4, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia. The slips of paper were placed inside old film cannisters and drawn from the bowl to decide a tied race between the two candidates. Yancey's name was pulled from the bowl and Republicans retained control of the Virginia House of Delegates, though an additional recount in the race is still possible. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - JANUARY 04: Virginia House of Delegates candidate Shelly Simonds (R) (D-VA), accompanied by her daughter Georgia Danehy (L) attends a meeting of the Virginia State Board of Elections January 4, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia. Simonds and Republican candidate Del. David Yancey (R-VA) were locked in a tied race that was decided by pulling a name from a bowl with the two candidates names inside the bowl. Yancey's name was pulled from the bowl and Republicans retained control of the Virginia House of Delegates, though an additional recount in the race is still possible. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - JANUARY 04: Virginia House of Delegates candidate Shelly Simonds (D-VA) speaks to members of the press following a meeting of the Virginia State Board of Elections January 4, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia. Simonds and Republican candidate Del. David Yancey (R-VA) were locked in a tied race that was decided by pulling a name from a bowl with the two candidates names inside the bowl. Yancey's name was pulled from the bowl and Republicans retained control of the Virginia House of Delegates, though an additional recount in the race is still possible. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - JANUARY 04: Virginia House of Delegates candidate Shelly Simonds (2nd L) (D-VA), accompanied by her daughter Georgia Danehy (C) and her husband Paul Danehy (R), leaves a meeting of the Virginia State Board of Elections January 4, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia. Simonds and Republican candidate Del. David Yancey (R-VA) were locked in a tied race that was decided by pulling a name from a bowl with the two candidates names inside the bowl. Yancey's name was pulled from the bowl and Republicans retained control of the Virginia House of Delegates, though an additional recount in the race is still possible. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
NEWPORT NEWS, VA - November 28: Republican David Yancey and Democrat Shelly Simonds attend a 'take your legislator to school day' Tuesday, November 28 at Heritage High School in Newport News, Va. Yancey leads Simonds by ten votes in the 94th District in the Virginia House of Delegates race. (Photo by Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
NEWPORT NEWS, VA - November 28: Democrat Shelly Simonds walks out on the pier at Riverview Farm Park Tuesday, November 28 in Newport News, Va. Expanding the park to the James River and preventing development in the area was a central campaign issue for Simonds. Republican David Yancey leads Simonds by ten votes in the 94th District in the Virginia House of Delegates race. (Photo by Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
NEWPORT NEWS, VA - November 28: Democrat Shelly Simonds talks to her former student, Aaron Greco, 17, during a 'take your legislator to school day' Tuesday, November 28 at Heritage High School in Newport News, Va. Republican David Yancey leads Simonds by ten votes in the 94th District in the Virginia House of Delegates race. (Photo by Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
NEWPORT NEWS, VA - November 28: Democrat Shelly Simonds talks to Cindy Li and Zhi Chao Lin at the Asian Grill next to her former campaign headquarters Tuesday, November 28 at Heritage High School in Newport News, Va. Republican David Yancey leads Simonds by ten votes in the 94th District in the Virginia House of Delegates race. (Photo by Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
NEWPORT NEWS, VA - November 28: Republican David Yancey and Democrat Shelly Simonds attend a 'take your legislator to school day' Tuesday, November 28 at Heritage High School in Newport News, Va. Yancey leads Simonds by ten votes in the 94th District in the Virginia House of Delegates race. (Photo by Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

According to a provision in a Virginia law, a general assembly race that results in a tie is decided by the State Board of Elections determining a winner “by lot” ― meaning the winner is selected through a process like picking names out of a hat, drawing straws or flipping a coin. This means that control of the House of Delegates could hinge on a process that leaves the outcome up to chance.

If Simonds wins, the House of Delegates will be split 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats. If Yancey wins, Republicans will have a 51-49 majority in the chamber.

Republicans have controlled the Virginia House of Delegates for 17 years.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.