Dem candidate seeks to halt VA random-winner drawing in tied race

Lady Luck’s moment in Virginia’s political spotlight may have to wait.

Democrat Shelly Simonds has asked the state Board of Elections to delay its planned Wednesday random-drawing tiebreaker in her race against incumbent Republican David Yancey.

The Board of Elections is set to meet Wednesday morning in Richmond to determine the winner of the hotly-contested House of Delegates race by randomly drawing the winner’s name, most likely out of a bowl.

Matt Abell, Lead SBE Election Administration Analyst, holds the crystal bowl from which the political party slips were drawn at the June 26th board meeting. Virginia Dept. of Elections

Simonds’ lawyers, Jonathan Berkon and Ezra Reese, told reporters in a conference call Tuesday that “there isn’t any hurry” and a delay would allow for further review of the tie determination in the contest, 11,608 to 11,608.

Simonds’ camp has filed motions asking a court to declare her the winner and suspend a judges’ panel declaration of a tie last week, arguing that they should not have reviewed the discarded ballot that allowed the race to become tied up. The judges ruled that the previously tossed ballot should have been counted for Yancey, a decision that erased Simonds’ one-point victory and equalized the result.

That ballot in question had both candidates’ bubbles filled in but Simonds’ bubble had a slash mark through it and the judges interpreted that as meaning the voter didn’t want to vote for the Democrat.

After the Simonds’ campaign announced its request for a delay, a spokeswoman for the Board of Elections told NBC News it didn’t have “any further information at this time.”

Simonds had earlier been declared the apparent winner in the race for the 94th District seat, a victory that would have flipped the red seat blue and created a 50-50 tie in the Virginia House.

On Wednesday, under one of the possible lottery scenarios, the state Board of Election will put each candidate’s name in an old film canister, place the canisters into a glass bowl, shake it up, and then pick the canister with the winner’s name inside. It remained unclear who would have the honor of selecting the winner.

The drawing will be live-streamed on Facebook starting around 10 a.m., ET.

Should Simonds end up taking the seat, it would mark the first time in two decades that Virginia’s House was evenly divided and could lead to an unusual power-sharing arrangement in the legislature.

The 94th district isn’t only Virginia district with its election results hanging in the balance.

Democrats are currently challenging the results out of Fredericksburg after about 100 residents in a split precinct were given the wrong ballot on Election Day in a House of Delegates contest. That case is set to go to court early next year and could further impact the balance of power in the legislature.