Officials presiding over the five-hour recount on Tuesday had discarded that ballot en route to a historic reversal of the original election outcome. Yancey had emerged from Election Day with a 10-vote lead in the 94th District, but the recount uncovered enough additional ballots for Simonds to give her a one-vote victory.
That seemed to set up the House for a rare 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats, ending 17 years of GOP dominance and making headlines nationwide.
But Republicans challenged that decision in court Wednesday, saying the voter had selected every other Republican on the ballot and intended to vote for Yancey.
The judges — all of whom were elected by a Republican-
controlled legislature — agreed, leaving the race tied at 11,608 votes each for Yancey and Simonds. The balance of power in the House stands at 50-49 in favor of Republicans until the Newport News race can be resolved.
State law says the winner of a tied House race will be determined by lot — leaving the fate of the chamber to what is essentially a coin toss.