Control of Virginia House comes down to a coin toss

Democrat Shelly Simonds, right, attends a routine at Heritage High School in November along with Republican David Yancey. Yancey had a 10-vote tip heading into Tuesday ’ s tell, but Simonds emerged victorious. ( Julia Rendleman / The Washington Post ) NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Control of Virginia ‘s legislature hang in oblivion Wednesday after a three-judge panel declined to certify the tell of a key House race, saying that a questionable vote should be counted in favor of the Republican and tying a race that Democrats thought they had won by a individual vote. “ The court declares there is no winner in this election, ” Newport News Circuit Court Judge Bryant Sugg said after the dialog box deliberated for more than two hours. He said the ballot in question contained a mark for Democrat Shelly Simonds arsenic well as a bell ringer for republican Del. David Yancey, but that the voter had made another set to strike out Simonds ‘ name.

Officials presiding over the five-hour recount on Tuesday had discarded that ballot en route to a historic reversal of the original election result. Yancey had emerged from Election Day with a 10-vote lead in the 94th District, but the tell uncovered adequate extra ballots for Simonds to give her a one-vote victory. That seemed to set up the House for a rare 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats, ending 17 years of GOP dominance and making headlines nationally. But Republicans challenged that decision in court Wednesday, saying the voter had selected every other Republican on the vote and intended to vote for Yancey. The judges – all of whom were elected by a Republican-controlled legislature – agreed, leaving the rush tied at 11,608 votes each for Yancey and Simonds. The balance of ability in the House stands at 50-49 in favor of Republicans until the Newport News slipstream can be resolved. state law says the winner of a tied House race will be determined by draw – leaving the destiny of the bedroom to what is basically a coin flip. James Alcorn, chair of the State Board of Elections, said the winner will probable be chosen by placing names on slips of papers into two film canisters and then drawing the canisters from a glaze bowl ( or his bowler hat ). He said he is conferring with staff to figure out the date and method acting. Complicating the tiebreaking vote is the need to ensure that both a democratic and republican representative of the three-member elections board will be available during the holidays. “ We were not planning to get together in the following week, ” said Alcorn, a Democrat appointed by outgoing Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D. But it does n’t end there. If the failure of the coin toss is unhappy with that result, he or she can seek a second tell. news program of the court decision pulsed through political circles that, just a sidereal day before, had been roiled by the notion that Simonds had taken the seat from Yancey by a single vote in the recount. As he was leaving the courthouse Wednesday, Yancey said “ the regnant today makes certain every vote in this historic election was counted. ” The turnaround shocked Democrats, who on social media were still celebrating their improbable rise to world power in the House of Delegates. Before the Nov. 7 elections, Republicans outnumbered Democrats in that chamber by 66 to 34. The GOP has a smaller, 21-19 edge in the state Senate, where ties votes can be broken by a democratic lieutenant governor. With Democrat Ralph Northam set to take over ampere governor on Jan. 13, the party is primed to flex its newfound muscle. But the Newport News consequence nowadays leaves things ill-defined. The House democratic Caucus vowed to fight the judges ‘ decision, calling it “ erroneous, ” though some legal experts expressed agnosticism that the party has avenues for a challenge. “ We are presently assessing all legal options earlier us as we fight for a just resultant role, ” said Marc Elias, the lawyer for the Democrats. “ The Republicans themselves had affirmed that this result was accurate yesterday before changing their minds today. “ After conceding this buttocks and their majority, they are now desperately trying to claw both back ‘like a snarl pawl that wo n’t let go of a bone, ‘ “ he said, quoting a holocene column by the Richmond-Times Dispatch. But according to lawyers for Yancey, the questions about the tell ‘s lone disputed ballot were a late-breaking surprise to them, american samoa well. Kenneth Mallory, a paid election official chosen by the Yancey team, had spotted the vote about halfway through the Tuesday tell. He said he thought the vote distinctly looked like a vote for Yancey, but the early official he was working with – selected by Democrats – disagree.

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“ I felt hurried to move on and proceed. I was raw to this march, and I was caught up by his controversy, ” Mallory wrote in a letter to the judges outlining his concerns. The ballot was tossed digression as invalid, the precinct was wrapped up and the recount moved on. At the end of the day, Republican and democratic officials alike stated that they were satisfied with the action and result. But a volunteer observer working for Yancey – John Alvarado, who besides happened to be Yancey ‘s campaign director – had seen Mallory ‘s discomfort during the recount. State law limits the ability of observers to communicate with election officials during the tell, but subsequently, Alvarado sounded the alarm with Yancey ‘s legal team, according to Republican lawyer Trevor Stanley. Stanley reached out to Mallory Tuesday flush, but Mallory declined to talk until he got assurances from the city ‘s Electoral Board that he was allowed to do so, the lawyer said. Mallory, meanwhile, said he had been agonizing about his failure to act during the tell. A center school civics teacher, Mallory, 33, said in an interview that he had wanted to take separate in the recount so he could talk about it with his students. He wrote in his letter that he “ lamented ” his failure to act on the questionable ballot, and that he shared his misgivings with his wife and parents. ultimately, around 10 post meridiem Tuesday, Yancey ‘s team talked with Mallory and heard his concerns. They urged him to write out his thoughts and sign them so they could take them to court in the dawn, when the judges would convene to certify the results. once the judges read the letter and heard arguments from the lawyers, they spent two hours studying the vote in question before predominate. GOP leaders in the House of Delegates, who on Tuesday had conceded the tell and pledged to share exponent with Democrats in what they believed would be a chamber separate 50 to 50, issued a new statement after Wednesday ‘s flex of events. “ While it appeared yesterday that Shelly Simonds was elected, it ‘s obvious now that the result will remain indecipherable for a while longer, ” said a statement from House GOP leaders Kirk Cox, Tim Hugo and Nick Rush. Simonds, who appeared on MSNBC ‘s “ Morning Joe ” Wednesday dawn as the surprise victor of a tense recount that reset express politics, could not be reached for comment. It is not clear whether a final decisiveness in the Simonds-Yancey match-up will settle control of the House of Delegates. even as the court was considering whether to certify Tuesday ‘s tell in the 94th House District, two other recounts are taking rate this week – at least one of which may promote reshuffle politics in Richmond. election officials on Wednesday evening were finishing a tell in the 68th House District in Richmond, where republican Del. G. Manoli Loupassi trailed democratic rival Dawn Adams by 336 votes, but the result appeared improbable to change. And a recount is set for Thursday in Fredericksburg ‘s District 28, where the Republican leads by 82 votes. Democrats have besides challenged that race in federal court, where they are seeking a new election because more than 100 voters were mistakenly given ballots for the wrong legislative zone. House Democrats were meeting in Richmond on Wednesday night to elect their own leadership for the coming General Assembly session, which starts Jan. 10. They were set to vote on their designee for Speaker of the House, anticipating either an even rent with Republicans or a possible democratic majority, should they prevail in the Simonds-Yancey race angstrom good as the court challenge in District 28.

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House Minority Leader David Toscano ( Charlottesville ) is vying with his party ‘s longest-serving member, Del. Kenneth Plum ( Fairfax ), for the speaker place. After the court ‘s opinion threw the balance wheel of baron back toward Republicans, Plum said he thinks Democrats need to be realistic about what ‘s ahead. “ Irrespective of these last-minute backs and forths, it ‘s clear that the people are divided in their choice, ” he said. “ And I think what ‘s incumbent upon us is that we do a power-sharing musical arrangement ( with Republicans ) where we can get some work done. ”

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