Virginia Democrat asks court to reconsider decision to tie House race

Election officials in Newport News Va. examine ballots

Democratic candidate Shelly Simonds is asking the Virginia State Board of Elections to delay making a final decision in the tied House of Delegates election in the 94th District until courts can rule on a petition to have a single ambiguous ballot thrown out.

Simonds is asking the election panel of judges to reverse their tie vote decision in the 94th house seat race and to reconsider on an expedited basis. Simonds and Yancey are tied at 11,608 votes each.

The State Board of Elections was scheduled to draw a victor on a Wednesday, but according to the Virginian Pilot, a spokesperson for the House Republican Caucus confirmed that the drawing has been postponed.

"This was not only contrary to the plain language of Virginia law, but was also contrary to the language that counsel for Mr. Yancey insisted be included in the Recount Consent Order", Simonds' court filing said. The voter selected Republicans for other offices.

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Election officials in Newport News, Va., examined ballots that a computer failed to scan. An original Election Day count put Yancey 10 votes ahead of Simonds, but a Democrat-requested recount brought Simonds just past her opponent. The official had let the vote remain uncounted before raising concerns the next day.

The ballot showed ovals for both candidates filled-in, but Simonds' bubble was then crossed out - and the rest of the ballot was filled out exclusively in favor of Republicans. Initially Yancey won by ten votes. The motion will be filed tomorrow, as circuit courts are closed today.

Whoever wins the 94th District race, the fight over control of the House may not end there.

About 120 miles to the north in Fredericksburg, another contest still hangs in the balance, thanks to 100 ballots wrongly distributed to residents of a split precinct who were asked to weigh in on the wrong statehouse race. But voters filed a lawsuit in federal court after at least 147 ballots were found to be assigned to the wrong districts.

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