Virginia's Tiebreaker Draw Is Postponed; Pivotal Race Still In Doubt

Division of Elections director Whitney Brewster flips the specially minted Alaska coin as Lt. Gov. Loren Leman and Rep. Carl Moses look on at the Loussac Library in Anchorage Alaska on in September 2006. The coin toss broke an election tie for a disputed

It took a panel of three state judges more than an hour to attempt to discern the intent of a single voter, whose ballot was confusedly marked. If Simonds wins the race in the end, the House of Delegates would be split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans.

Northam, who will be sworn into office January 13, also said he feels sorry for Simonds and Yancey, who have had their undecided race "lingering on for over a month now".

Republican leaders in the state also rebuked Simonds' legal challenge, arguing that Democrats are trying to delay the outcome while accusing them of deliberately trying to make it hard for the House to get down to business in the new year.

On Wednesday, Simonds filed a legal challenge to that ruling by overnight UPS delivery to Newport News Circuit Court.

The State Board of Elections had scheduled a draw that day to break the tie but postponed it indefinitely. The three-judge panel ruled in his favor, which brought this race to a tie.

Simonds also argued that the court considered a ballot one more time than allowed after it received a letter from a concerned recount official.

A random drawing was expected to determine the victor until Simonds filed a legal challenge disputing the tie, asking the Virginia Board of Elections to delay the drawing scheduled for Wednesday. They believe the ballot should not be included in the final tally.

But we also would point to a corollary matter: How important it is for those who vote to make their intent crystal clear.

Regardless of the outcome in the 94th District, however, control of the House still won't be resolved, because another district - the 28th - remains up in the air as well.

The date was set shortly after GOP House Leader Kirk Cox criticized Simonds for causing "politically motivated delays" in settling the hard-fought race.

Workers start to remove boxes from a storage room to recount the ballots during the Newport News 94th district recount on December 19, 2017 at City Center in Newport News, Virginia.

The General Assembly begins its session in 14 days and political control of the House of Delegates hangs in the balance of the race.

With no certain majority, preliminary discussions over possible power sharing had occurred even before the recount in the 94th District, Democratic leader Del.

Democrats in the state, however, blasted the GOP for hypocrisy and accused them of trying to "steal" the election.

Simonds won the initial recount by one vote on Dec ember 19.

Parker Slaybaugh, a spokesman for Cox, told NBC News that if the race is not decided before lawmakers are seated in January, there's a chance neither candidate would be seated until a decision is made and the Republicans would maintain a 50-49 majority and continue with their agenda. They "have one, but only one, full and fair opportunity to argue a question of law", they argue, and the arguments in her motions were presented "vigorously" in court last week.

"We will not allow intentional and politically motivated blame tactics from impeding the organization of the House", Cox said.

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