Wednesday’s coin-flip conclusion to a nail-biting Virginia legislative election might have to wait.
The Democrat in a tied race for a House of Delegates seat that could affect which party controls the chamber says she’ll ask a court to declare the tie invalid.
Shelly Simonds’ lawyers said Tuesday that they’ll ask the court to reconsider its ruling after last week’s recount.
If Simonds were declared the winner in the 94th District in Newport News, it would split control of the legislature 50-50 – with a newly elected Democratic govenror.
Currently it’s 51-49 in favor of Republicans.
Last week Democrat Shelly Simonds (right) was told she had won a Virginia statehouse race by a single vote, but now she’s going to court to invalidate the final vote that left her election tied
Del. David Yancey talks with reporters outside the Newport News courthouse after a three-judge panel certified the 94th District in Newport News as tied last Wednesday
Attorney Ezra Reese said the court violated election law by counting a ballot for Republican Del. David Yancey a day after the recount.
The ballot showed ovals for both candidates filled-in, but Simonds’ bubble was then crossed out – and the rest of the ballot was filled out exclusively in favor of Republicans.
The Virginia State Board of Elections is set to hold a random drawing on Wednesday, with the two candidates’ names being placed into film canisters and then into a bowl.
The Simonds campaign has asked the board to delay the drawing. Simonds and Yancey are tied at 11,608 votes each.
‘On Wednesday the judges decided to allow my opponent to pull one vote and look at one vote, and that is not part of the recount process. My team followed the rules of the recount process, and the other side really didn’t.
Simonds says the final vote approved by a three-judge panel should never have been allowed since it was too late to challenge the process
Election officials in Newport News, Va., examined ballots that a computer failed to scan. Initially Yancey won by ten votes. Then after the recount he lost by one. But ultimately a three-judge panel ruled that a disputed ballot should be counted for Yancey, resulting in a dead heat
Simonds isn’t arguing that the intent of the voter who casted the contested ballot was unclear. She’s saying instead that it was too late to raise a challenge when Yancey’s lawyers spoke up.
Early last week Simonds had been declared the winner in the 94th District race. But a day later, and after a whirlwind toufr of TV interviews, her Cinderella story found its pumpkin.
Even if she’s declared the winner, however, there’s still one more wild card in play.
About 120 miles to the north in Fredericksburg, another contest still hangs in the balance, thanks to 100 ballots wrongly distributed to residents of a split precinct who were asked to weigh in on the wrong statehouse race.
At stake is which bills are taken up and moved for votes. And, of course, bragging rights for another two years.
But either way, the Democrats posted historic gains this year in the wake of Republican Donald Trump’s stunning White House victory in 2016.
Before the Nov. 7 general election, Virginia Republicans held 66 seats to the Democrats’ 34 in the legislature, along with a majority in the state Senate.