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Virginia Board of Elections to meet Jan. 4 to pick winner of tied House of Delegates race

122917 VA delegates race photo
In this photo from Dec. 19, workers start to remove boxes from a storage room to recount the ballots between Republican Del. David Yancey and Democrat Shelly Simonds at City Center in Newport News, Va. On Friday, the Virginia Board of Elections announced it would randomly select the winner of the race on Jan. 4. (Joe Fudge/The Daily Press via AP)

The Virginia Board of Elections will randomly select the winner of the tied race for the state House of Delegates next week, the panel’s chairman announced Friday.

James Alcorn, who heads the state Board of Elections, said on Twitter election officials are now scheduled to meet Thursday, Jan. 4, at 11 am.

“Unless the court system intervenes, the Board will draw a winner for #HD94,” Alcorn tweeted.

The race between Democrat Shelly Simonds and Republican incumbent David Yancey for the seat to represent the 94th district in the Virginia House of Delegates has remained unsettled for several weeks.

Yancey was declared the presumptive winner by just 10 votes after Election Day, but a recount last week put Simonds ahead by a single vote.

A three-judge panel that met to certify the results of the recount then unanimously ruled a contested ballot was a vote for Yancey, tying the race between the two.

With the ballot in question, both candidates received 11,608 votes, the judges said.

The Virginia Board of Elections was scheduled to meet Dec. 27 to officially decide the winner of the House of Delegates race by selecting a film canister containing either Yancey’s or Simonds’ name from a bowl.

But a last-minute court challenge from Simonds delayed the drawing.

The Democratic candidate announced Tuesday she planned to file a motion asking the court to reverse its ruling and argued the three-judge panel made a “clear legal error … [that] ran contrary to Virginia law” when it accepted the contested ballot.

Simonds’ and her lawyers also asked the Virginia Board of Elections to delay the drawing planned for earlier this week.

If Simonds is the winner of the House of Delegates race, it would end 17 years of Republican control in the state’s lower chamber. Republicans and Democrats would each hold the same number of seats.