An incumbent Republican candidate has won his state in an unorthodox manner. Republican David Yancey and Democrat Shelly Simonds were tied when the votes were tallied. Due to a 300-year-old law, the state’s board of elections had to resort to a “lot draw,” in which the chairman of the board drew one of the two candidates’ names from a ceramic bowl to declare the winner.
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GOP David Yancey won the state of Virginia in one of the quirkiest forms of democracy displayed in quite some time. According to CNN, this method of crowning a victor originates back to 1705 after a similar tie vote occurred.
Yancy and Simonds were both tied 11,608-to-11,608 after the election ended and the votes were finalized. Yancey winning is great news for the GOP as they will keep their majority of 51-49. If Simonds would have won, the House would have been split 50-50.
James Alcorn, chairman of the State Board of Elections and the man who pulled Yancey’s name out of the ceramic bowl, spoke before pulling a name. “This election has certainly shown the importance of every vote and the power of one single vote.”
After her loss, Simonds said, “all options are still on the table” pertaining to the possibility of a recount. She later said in a statement to the Democratic caucus that “at this moment, I am not conceding.”
The battle for the Virginia seat, which only pays $18,000 a year, was national news as recounts went back and forth. Each candidate demanded some form of the vote be thrown out so the tie would be broken. The Virginia saga may not be over as it sounds as if Simonds plans to fight the ruling.
According to USA Today, Clara Belle Wheeler, the Election Board’s vice chair said the events today were “unprecedented” because this vote was monumental as to who controls the House.
Wheeler added: “This has never been done before for the longest-running, oldest legislative body, if you will, in the New World.”
A similar styled event took place for Alaska’s House Seat when in 2006 a tie was settled by flipping a coin.