The dramatic race for a Virginia House of Delegates seat that could decide which party controls the chamber — a race that’s come down to a name-drawing — is expected to continue into the new year.
After postponing the original name-drawing earlier this week, James Alcorn, chair of the state’s Board of Elections, on Friday rescheduled the name-drawing for Jan. 4 “unless the court system intervenes.”
On the eve of the original name-drawing Wednesday, Democratic candidate Shelly Simonds filed a court motion contesting a previous decision to count a contested ballot for her opponent, Republican incumbent David Yancey.
If Simonds were to win the seat, Republicans would lose their majority in Virginia’s House of Delegates after 17 years.
The court has yet to address the matter, as some of its judges are out of town for the holidays.
“Drawing names is an action of last resort,” Alcorn said Wednesday. “Any substantive concerns regarding the election or recount should be resolved before a random drawing is conducted.”
The turmoil over the seat has dragged on for more than a month. A recount originally proclaimed Simonds the winner by a mere one vote. Yancey then won a lawsuit that allowed a previously uncounted ballot to be counted as marked for him ― bringing the race to a tie.
Virginia House Democrats have called Yancey’s lawsuit a “desperate effort to change the outcome and steal the election” from Simonds.
“The court erred both in admitting the ballot for consideration, which broke the rules of the citizen-led recount process, as well as in counting the ballot for Yancey, which, according to guidelines from the State Board of Elections, had already been accurately classified as an overvote by both the Democratic and the Republican observers,” House Democratic Caucus spokesperson Katie Baker said in a statement Friday.
Virginia state law indicates that electoral ties should be resolved “by lot.” The candidate “who loses the determination by lot” could call for another recount.
This article has been updated with a statement from the Virginia House Democratic Caucus.