Republicans Control Virginia State House Because Some Dude's Name Was Drawn Out of a Bowl

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Republicans Control Virginia State House Because Some Dude's Name Was Drawn Out of a Bowl

This just in from Richmond: In a House of Delegates race that ended up in a literal tie, the Republican candidate won when his name was pulled from a ceramic bowl. This incredibly weird situation, which hasn’t happened for 50 years in Virginia, has larger implications—the “win” gives Republicans a 51-49 majority in the state house, instead of a 50-50 tie that would have effectively given control to the Democrats in a state with a Democratic governor.

David Yancey, the incumbent Republican, “defeated” Shelly Simonds after a wild race that included a recount. Simonds trailed by 10 votes after the November election, but took a one-vote lead following the recount. One day later, a panel of judges ruled that a previously uncounted ballot was a Yancey vote, tying up the race.

The result? A bowl. From the AP:

The drawing of lots Thursday drew quite a crowd at the Virginia elections board meeting. Officials detailed how the drawing would work and Del. David Yancey’s name was chosen first out of a ceramic bowl, making him the winner of the 94th District race.

The name of each candidate was printed on a piece of paper and placed into separate film canisters. The canisters were put into a cobalt-blue-and-white ceramic bowl made by a local artist, stirred around and Yancey’s name was chosen.

And here’s the deal with that single vote:

At the heart of the dispute in the race for a seat in the oldest legislative body in the country is a single ballot on which the voter filled in the bubble for both Simonds and Yancey. The voter also drew a single slash through the bubble for Simonds and picked Republican candidates in statewide races.

A picture of the ballot:

Amazingly, this might not be over—Simonds can still ask for another recount.

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