Names being drawn Dec. 27 to determine tied Newport News Va. House of Delegates race

Posted at 8:49 AM, Dec 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-22 11:40:00-05

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The Virginia Department of Elections will meet on December 27 to draw names to determine a winner in the Virginia House of Delegates race in the 94th district, according to the chairman of the board.

The race for the House of Delegates in District 94 is now tied after a panel of judges ruled Wednesday a contested ballot was meant for David Yancey.

Heading into Wednesday's hearing to certify the results, Shelly Simonds had a one vote lead, but a Republican election official wrote a letter, saying he felt one ballot that wasn't counted was meant for Yancey.

The ballot shows the voter filled in the bubble for both Yancey and Simonds, but there was a line through the bubble for Simonds. The ballot wasn't counted on Tuesday due to the confusion over the voter's intention.

During the hearing, Republican lawyers argued the line through Simonds' bubble was meant to cross off her name and vote for Yancey. The person voted for Republicans in other state elections. They also said the election official is inexperienced and didn't speak up enough to stop the recount process.

Democratic lawyers argued proper procedure wasn't followed and it was too late to make such a claim.

After about two hours, the panel of judges awarded the vote to Yancey, tying the race at 11,608 to 11,608.

"It's an exciting time in Virginia to be sure," Yancey said after the hearing. "The ruling today I think makes certain that every vote that was cast in this historic election was counted."

"It has definitely been a roller coaster ride," Simonds said. "I'm tough that's the reason I got into politics. I'm going to be okay. This isn't about me personally. This is about my community being well represented."

Democrats are currently looking into legal options about the contested ballot.

The recount Tuesday had Simonds winning by one vote. This was substantial because with her win the Virginia House of Delegates would be at a 50/50 political party split.

Simonds formally requested a recount in the 94th district after the results had her losing by 10 votes in the November 7 election.