Bill calls for a special election if a recount ends in a tie
The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus on Wednesday called for a law requiring a special election if an election recount ends in a tie – as it did in the state’s 94th House District last fall.
That tied election in Newport News between Republican David Yancey and Democrat Shelly Simonds was decided by a lottery – film canisters pulled out of a bowl. That is what prompted Del. Marcia Price, D-95th, to propose House Bill 1581.
“When it was announced that the winner of the 94th District House race was to be determined by lot – by drawing a name out of a bowl – there was an instant reaction,” Price said at a news conference attended by the caucus chair, Del. Lamont Bagby, D-74th, and other legislators.
Yancey, the incumbent delegate, won the lottery held by the State Board of Elections on Jan. 4. Price said that regardless of party, Virginians deserve a better way of settling deadlocked elections.
Price said she was holiday shopping for her nephew in December when both Republican and Democratic residents of the 94th House District approached her about the upcoming lottery. Price recalled one man saying, “I know we don’t agree on much, but tell me you agree that this just isn’t right.”
“So HB 1581 takes into account the feelings of disenfranchisement and serves as a fix. It says if the court finds that each party to the recount has received an equal number of votes, it shall issue a writ promptly ordering a special election be held to determine which candidate is elected to office,” Price said.
The proposed rule would apply to all elected offices except governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. The Virginia
Constitution says the General Assembly must settle any tied election for those statewide offices.
Price’s idea to hold a special election received support at the news conference from Dawnn Wallace, who lives in the 94th House District.