Documented Errors by Voting Officials May Be Reason Why Republicans Still Control Virginia House

Republicans maintained control of the Virginia House of Delegates, 51 to 49, when a race was decided for Republicans by picking a name out of a bowl after a judicial panel had changed how a single vote was counted, resulting in a tie. If the panel had left that single vote as it was originally counted or if Democrat Shelly Simonds’ name had been picked out of the bowl, the entire state House would have been tied. That’s why what might in another race have seemed like a small error likely decided control of the state House: an analysis by the Washington Post finds that 26 votes were cast by voters assigned to the wrong district, thanks to local elections officials. What’s more:

The misassigned voters lived in a predominantly African American precinct that heavily favored Democrats in the fall, raising the possibility that they would have delivered the district to Simonds had they voted in the proper race. 

So, yeah. Those errors by elections officials could easily have flipped the race.

“There are thousands of ways I could have won that election,” said Simonds, who is making another run for the seat in 2019’s election. “I met a woman recently who told me she had a breathing episode in the polling place . . . and the ambulance took her out of the polling place before she could vote for me. So many different ways. You’ve just given me another 26 ways.”

That’s not the only race that Republicans may have squeaked through thanks to voters assigned to the wrong district, either. And because it happened in another district and those errors were already discovered and fought over, we know that the result of this race will stand even though it took misassigned voters, a judicial panel changing how a ballot was counted, and picking a name from a bowl to get Republican David Yancey the “win.” 

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