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RICHMOND-An apparent one-vote Democratic victory in a Newport News-area House of Delegates race turned into a tie Wednesday, creating an unprecedented scenario in which control of the House will be decided by state officials essentially drawing a name out of a hat.

If two or more persons have an equal number of votes for any county, city, town, or district office, and a higher number than any other person, the electoral board shall proceed publicly to determine by lot which of the candidates shall be declared elected.

An election recount in Virginia ended with Republican David Yancey losing his 10 vote margin to his Democrat rival Shelly Simonds, giving her a one-vote victory.

Those efforts to undermine democracy are being countered by a surge of it, one vote at a time. A seat in the House of Delegates that remains undecided will either leave Republicans in control of the chamber or split the House evenly, forcing the GOP to share power with Democrats for the first time in 17 years. Yancey actually led after Election Day by the razor-thin margin of 11,601 to 11,591, but Tuesday's daylong recount in Newport News changed that. That would mean both Yancey and Simonds had 11,608 votes each. "Simply put, every vote counts". "This morning, the Republican official wrote a letter to the recount court explaining that he made the wrong decision yesterday, and that he believes the ballot should count for Delegate Yancey".

He said the ballot in question contained a mark for Democrat Shelly Simonds as well as a mark for Republican Del.

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The recount was one of four that followed the November election. It also was a textbook lesson, in an age of fights over access to the voting booth, that every ballot matters.

The Virginia Department of Elections said Wednesday that they were still waiting for a final order from the circuit court before proceeding on how to determine a victor. Simonds' win also makes the next legislative session the first one in almost two decades in which the GOP won't control the House.

Under Virginia law, a tie in a House race should be decided by drawing lots, the equivalent of a coin toss or drawing straws, the Conference of State Legislatures said. Will there be a coin toss?

"We are one vote closer to expanding Medicaid and extending access to affordable health care to almost 400,000 people", House Democratic leaders wrote. Drawing lots is a insane way to choose a representative.


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