by House Democratic Leader Del. David Toscano
Yogi Berra Had It Right: “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
The hashtag #OneVote began trending on social media last night, after the recount in House of Delegates District 94 (Newport News) ended with a tally of 11,608 votes for Democrat Shelly Simonds and 11,607 votes for Republican David Yancey. Now the tag may turn to a different single ballot, the one that the three-judge court decided today could be considered – even though the recount officials had already agreed that it did not contain a vote for either Simonds or Yancey. The recount panel then decided that they could determine which physical ballot was the one rejected by the recount officials – even though it had not been separated from the other “no valid vote” ballots set aside yesterday, as required by procedure. And then, the three judges concurred that the ballot they examined should be counted in favor of incumbent Yancey – which changed the recount vote tally to an exact tie, at 11,608 votes each.
Three strikes, maybe – yet we are anything but out. The attorneys who represent Shelly Simonds are assessing the court’s actions today in order to consider “all legal options before us as we fight for a just result.” If today’s declaration of a tied vote remains in place, then the State Board of Elections breaks the tie by conducting a public process “to determine by lot which of the candidates shall be declared elected” according to the Code of Virginia. This could happen as early as Friday, but given what has happened in this election, who can predict when it will actually occur? It’s no wonder that everyone is trying to figure out where we are now, and jumping to guess where we’re going next.
Meanwhile, there are two more recounts to be conducted: one began today in House District 68, and the other begins on Thursday in House District 28. As we all know, the recount process will not address the real problems with disenfranchisement of voters in the HD 28 election on November 7, so in addition to the ongoing developments in Newport News, there will be more to come in Stafford County and Fredericksburg between tomorrow and the beginning of the 2018 General Assembly session.
Or as political sage Berra might say, we may have “Déjà vu all over again.”