Yes, Virginia, Every Vote Does Count

Yes, Virginia, Every Vote Does Count”

Three judges and a sloppily filled-in ballot have erased Shelly Simonds' dramatic one-vote Virginia House win that made headlines Tuesday, the New York Times reports. The news spread like wildfire that Republicans had lost their majority and were now going to have to share power with Democrats.

After a panel of judges determined that the Republican and Democratic candidates running for a seat in Virginia's House of Delegates had received the same number of votes, the election could be decided at random.

Republican leaders in Virginia penned a statement saying they are "ready to establish a bipartisan framework under which the House can operate efficiently and effectively over the next two years".

Mr. Yancey's extraordinary reversal of fortune came a day after a recount erased a 10-vote lead he held on Election Day.

The additional vote for Yancey meant each candidate finished with exactly 11,608 votes.

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Here's an image of the ballot in question.

For this week's nail-biting recount in Virginia, the State Board of Elections has yet to decide precisely when and through which game of chance the tie will be broken. However, a Democratic official persuaded the Republican official to not count the ballot. After review, the recount court agreed to count the ballot for Delegate Yancey.

Willard Hoskins, 78, a Republican-leaning voter in the district, said he had voted for Mr. Yancey, never expecting how close the race would become.

"The court declares there is no victor in this election", Judge Bryant Sugg said. Two others were scheduled this week and a recount in Fairfax and Prince William counties confirmed the re-election of Del. At this time, the matter is still with the recount court.

At the local level, ties happen fairly frequently: In 2012, a city council election in Walton, Kentucky, that tied at 669 votes each was decided by a coin toss; in 2014, candidates in Poplarville, Mississippi, who had tied 177-177 in an alderman's race drew straws to determine the victor; and this year, candidates drew cards from a deck to pick the victor in a tied city council race in Cripple Creek, Colorado ― to name a few. One Virginia reporter noted that a coin toss had been used in at least one past local election. After five hours of re-examining ballots, election officials announced the results: 11,608 votes for Simonds and 11,607 votes for Yancey. Drawing lots is a insane way to choose a representative.

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