State Board of Elections delays breaking House of Delegates tie

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP/WRIC) — The Virginia State Board of Elections has postponed the meeting to declare a winner in a tied House of Delegates race.

The decision came after Democratic candidate Shelly Simonds asked the court in charge of the recount 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. Currently, it’s 51-49 in favor of Republicans.

James Alcorn, the chairman of the Virginia State Board of Elections described the board’s rationale.

“Drawing names is an action of last resort,” Alcorn said. “Any substantive concerns regarding the election or recount should be resolved before a random drawing is conducted. This will best serve the voters of HD 94 and the rest of the Commonwealth.”

Attorney Ezra Reese said the court violated election law by counting a ballot for Republican Del. David Yancey a day after the recount.

Election officials had planned to draw names from a bowl Wednesday to settle the outcome. A new date for the drawing has not yet been established.

Simonds and Yancey are tied at 11,608 votes each.

David Yancey, her opponent, has not yet commented on the request, but Parker Slaybaugh, a spokesperson for the House Republican Caucus issued a statement Tuesday.

In it, he said that the Republican Party believes that the three-judge court ruled correctly in counting the ballot. He said that the process used to determine the election in HD 94 was exactly the same used in determining a winner in House District 28 which gave the ballot to Democratic candidate Joshua Cole.

“The Court agreed to review the ballot. After review, the Court agreed to count the ballot for Cole. This is exactly analogous to our actions in House District 94 and demonstrates unequivocally that the actions ofthe Court in Newport News were appropriate and equitable,” Slaybaugh said.

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