Latest: Virginia election, and House control, up to chance

AP News
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Posted: Dec 20, 2017 4:00 PM
Latest: Virginia election, and House control, up to chance

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — The Latest on election recounts for the Virginia House of Delegates (all times local):

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3:40 p.m.

Control of the Virginia House could depend on which old film canister an election official pulls out of a glass bowl.

A three-judge panel certified the 94th District in Newport News as tied on Wednesday, a day after a dramatic recount appeared to give Democrat Shelly Simonds a victory over Del. David Yancey by a single vote.

By state law, the winner of the tie will be determined "by lot."

A win by the Democrat would make the house evenly split between parties.

Virginia Board of Elections Chairman James Alcorn said the board will likely pick the winner the same way it picks ballot order. He said each candidate's name is placed into a separate film canister. The canisters are placed into a glass bowl and shaken up. The canister containing the winner's name is pulled out at random by a board member.

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2:40 p.m.

A court has now declared a tie in a Virginia House election that one day earlier appeared to have gone to a Democrat by a single vote.

A three-judge panel certified the 94th District in Newport News as tied at 11,608 to 11,608 on Wednesday, a day after a dramatic recount appeared to give Democrat Shelly Simonds the victory over Del. David Yancey.

Yancey successfully challenged an uncounted ballot he said should have been included in his total.

By state law, the winner of the tie will be determined "by lot." It was not immediately clear how or when that will take place.

The outcome likely deciding partisan control of the House of Delegates. If Yancey wins, Republicans will hold on to power by one seat, 51-49. If Simonds wins, a rare power-sharing agreement would have to be brokered between Democrats and Republicans.

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12:15 p.m.

After an election recount that appears to give them a tying vote in their chamber, Virginia House Democrats plan to meet Wednesday to select a would-be speaker.

They will choose between current House Democratic Leader David Toscano, who has led the caucus for several years, and Del. Ken Plum, the body's longest serving member.

The caucus vote comes after a day after Democrats appear to have secured a 50-50 tie in the lower chamber with a one-vote election victory after a recount in a Newport News House district. The winner between Toscano and Plum will be the caucus' lead negotiator with Republicans as they discuss a possible power-sharing agreement, Toscano said.

Republicans said Wednesday there are no plans to vote on their current leadership team, led by Del. Kirk Cox.

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10:55 a.m.

A Republican who appears to have lost a Virginia House of Delegates contest by one vote is challenging a single ballot, based on concerns raised by a GOP election official who participated in the recount.

Attorneys for Republican Del. David Yancey presented a letter written by the official to a three-judge panel Wednesday.

The official wrote that although he signed off on the ballot, which was not counted a day earlier, he was confused at the time. He wrote that the ballot had both candidates' names bubbled in for the 94th District race. He says the voter had chosen Republican candidates in every other race.

Attorneys for Democrat Shelly Simonds say the ballot should not be reconsidered.

The judges are meeting to certify Tuesday's recount. If Simonds' win holds, control of the House would be tied.

A rare power-sharing agreement would have to be brokered between Democrats and Republicans.

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9:45

An aide to the Republican who appears to have lost a Virginia House of Delegates contest by one vote said the campaign plans to challenge a single ballot before a three-judge panel Wednesday.

Control of the state House will likely be determined by the winner of the race.

Gretchen Heal, a legislative aide to Republican Del. David Yancey, said the campaign believes one ballot for Yancey was improperly counted toward his opponent's total.

Democrat Shelly Simonds appeared to beat Yancey in the 94th District in Newport News 11,608 to 11,607 in a recount Tuesday.

The recounted votes still must be certified by a court Wednesday.

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9:20 a.m.

Control of the Virginia state House is still up for grabs as Republicans appear to have lost a 16-seat majority in one of the most agonizing ways possible — with a single vote defeat in a dramatic recount election.

A Democratic challenger is set to score a one-vote victory Wednesday barring any last minute challenges or hiccups with the certification process. The victory means a rare power-sharing agreement may have to be brokered between Democrats and Republicans.

Shelly Simonds beat three-term incumbent Republican Del. David Yancey in the 94th District in Newport News, 11,608 to 11,607, in an hourslong recount Tuesday that ended only after the precinct ballots were exhausted and provisional ballots were examined.

The recounted votes still must be certified by a court Wednesday.