The outcome of a key Virginia House of Delegates election was just determined by the drawing of lots (specifically, in this case, via old-school film canisters in a stoneware bowl), and Republican Del. David Yancey won the race for the 94th District.
This drawing should never have happened, however. Democrat Shelly Simonds secured a one-vote win in the recount on Dec. 19, but shady Republican antics resulted in the three-judge recount panel counting an additional vote for Yancey the following day, yielding a tie. Today, the tie was broken, in accordance with state law, by the drawing of lots.
But this race may not yet be over. Another provision of Virginia law allows the loser of a drawing of lots to seek a second recount, which could allow Simonds to re-challenge the disputed vote that threw the race into a tie. A federal lawsuit is also possible.
For the moment, though, Yancey’s win means that Republicans will just barely retain their majority in the House, with 51 seats to the Democrats’ 49. If further action shifts the balance to 50-50, though, Republicans would be forced to share power with Democrats. Whatever happens, though, Democrats made extraordinary strides in the November elections, picking up 15 seats and setting the stage for more gains around the country this year.