Simonds supporters protest court ruling tying 94th District race

Simonds supporters protest court ruling tying 94th District race

Protesters made their voices heard Wednesday on the legal battle over who will be the state Delegate for Newport News.

About 20 gathered outside Republican Delegate David Yancey's Newport News office, protesting last week's court ruling that accepted a disputed ballot for Yancey, tying the vote.

The protesters argued the recount results should stand, with Democratic challenger Shelly Simonds the winner by one vote.

Said Gene Magruder, one of the protesters and Chair of the Virginia Association of Democratic Chairs, "Who is going to rule the process: the State Board of Elections, or is just going to go to judges? And if it's just going to go to judges, what is the purpose of a recount?"

The ballot accepted by the court shows two bubbles filled in for both candidates, with a line through Simonds' bubble.

Simonds filed a legal challenge to the court Wednesday, arguing it didn't follow election law by allowing the ballot to be counted after the recount concluded.

"If we allow the courts to decide all of our elections, I think we are all going to be in trouble," said Simonds in an interview after the announcement.

"I have a lot of faith in our judicial process and our judges, and I think for them things moved really fast, and we wanted to slow things down and give them a chance to reconsider," she said.

The State Board of Elections delayed a scheduled drawing of names to break the tie.

Chairman of the State Board of Elections James Alcorn wrote in a statement, "Any substantive concerns regarding the election or recount should be resolved before a random drawing is conducted."

Delegate Yancey hasn't commented on the delay or the protest, but he spoke after last week's court ruling.

"I'm grateful for the justices and the time they took to deliberate, and I'm really grateful that every vote has been counted," Yancey told reporters.

The House Republican Caucus issued a statement saying the court acted appropriately and within the law.

No word yet on when the court might respond to Simonds' petition, or whether the tie-breaker will be rescheduled. General Assembly Session starts Jan. 10.

This election will determine whether Republicans maintain control of the House of Delegates, or whether Democrats share power with Republicans.

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