Saturday, June 25, 2022

BOE postpones ‘random drawing’ to resolve contested house election

The State Board of Elections has postponed a Wednesday meeting that would have drawn lots to decide the winner of a House of Delegates seat in Newport News.

The move, announced late Tuesday in a statement from Board of Elections chair James Alcorn, came amid ongoing uncertainty about the outcome of the election in the 94th district and the balance of power in the House of Delegates.

Earlier Tuesday, Shelly Simonds, the Democratic contender, asked the Newport News Circuit Court to reconsider a Dec. 20 decision declaring a tie in the 94th district election.

A Dec. 19 recount found she had defeated Del. David Yancey by one vote, meaning the House would have been tied 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans.

“After receiving notice of the pending litigation concerning the HD94 election, we have decided to postpone tomorrow’s planned drawing,” Alcorn said in the release. “While our planned drawing for tomorrow was in full compliance with the Code of Virginia, neutral election administrators should not be choosing election winners – or influencing the next Speaker of the House. Drawing names is an action of last resort. Any substantive concerns regarding the election or recount should be resolved before a random drawing is conducted. This will best serve the voters of HD94 and the rest of the Commonwealth.”

Lawyers for Simonds had asked the court on Dec. 26 to reconsider its decisions about the race, saying they were “manifestly unjust,” and suspend its order certifying the vote.

Simonds said Tuesday she stands by the result of the recount.

“It was a fair process guided by rules,” she said.

Ezra Reese, an attorney for Simonds, said Tuesday the court was wrong to have considered a challenge to the ballot which made the election a tie.

The House Republican Caucus released a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying the caucus is reviewing Simonds’ court papers and weighing whether to file a response.
 
“We believe the Court acted appropriately and that the integrity of the process is without question,” Parker Slaybaugh, a spokesperson, said in the statement.
 

This is a developing story. WYDaily will update the story as more information becomes available. This story has been updated to include additional information related to Simonds’ court filings and the response by House Republicans.

 

 

Joan Quigley
Joan Quigley is a former Miami Herald business reporter, a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and an attorney. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, TIME.com, nationalgeographic.com and Talking Points Memo. Her recent book, Just Another Southern Town: Mary Church Terrell and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Nation’s Capital, was shortlisted for the 2017 Mark Lynton History Prize. Her first book, The Day the Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy, won the 2005 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award.

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