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Republican wins lottery-style drawing for control of Virginia statehouse

By
Sara Shayanian

Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Republicans will retain control of Virginia's House of Delegates after David Yancey's name was pulled out of a film canister to decide the winner of a tied election.

The state elections board chairman pulled the incumbent GOP member's name out of a film canister, giving Yancey the victory over Democrat Shelly Simonds after they both received 11,608 votes for a seat in the Virginia legislature's lower chamber.

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The GOP now holds a 51-49 majority over Democrats in the House of Delegates despite the latter slashing the previous Republican 66-34 majority.

The closely-contested 94th District race involved both a recount and a court challenge before the election snafu was finally sorted out Thursday morning.

RELATED Virginia House race: Judges deny Democrat's request to reverse tie

After a recount last month overturned Yancey's initial election win and gave Simonds the victory by one vote, a court ruled one disputed ballot should be counted for Yancey -- effectively tying the race and triggering a random drawing to decide the winner.

Simonds was later denied a request to reverse the ruling.

"The right of a citizen to cast a free vote has been secured to us by the blood of patriots shed from Lexington and Concord to Selma, Alabama," the judges wrote in a 11-page ruling. "The manifest injustice against which we must always guard is the chance that a single vote may not be counted."

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RELATED Drawing to decide Virginia House election postponed

Yancey won't be seated by Jan. 10, the first day of the state's 2018 General Assembly. According to Virginia state law, Simonds will be eligible to ask for a recount since she lost the drawing.

RELATED Virginia House split after Democrat wins recount by one vote

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