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Virginia Board of Elections announces new date for random drawing to decide tied race

The Hill logo The Hill 12/29/2017 Avery Anapol
a close up of a newspaper © Provided by The Hill The random drawing to decide a tied race for a seat in Virginia's House of Delegates - and party control of the chamber - will take place on Thursday, after officials postponed the drawing in response to a legal challenge from one of the candidates.

The State Board of Elections announced in an email that the drawing of lots, which was originally set to take place on Dec. 27, will now occur on Jan. 4, after Democratic candidate Shelly Simonds filed a legal challenge disputing the tie.

The race between Simonds and GOP incumbent Del. David Yancey drew national attention after a recount, triggered by Yancey winning on election night by only 10 votes, found Simonds to have won the race by a single vote.

The race was then declared a tie after a three-judge panel ruled that one ballot that hadn't been counted in the recount should count for Yancey. The ballot in question had bubbles for both candidates filled in, but the bubble for Simonds had a slash though it.

The current total now stands at 11,608 votes for each candidate.

Virginia state law requires that tied elections be decided by lots - in this case, the candidates' names will be printed on slips of paper, put inside separate film canisters and drawn from a bowl by an official.

Simonds filed a court challenge to the tie earlier this week, prompting the elections board to postpone the drawing.

The result of the election will have a major impact on the Virginia House of Delegates, which is currently Republican-controlled, 51-49. If Simonds wins the election, the chamber will be evenly split for the first time in years.

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