Every. Vote. Matters.

Yesterday, a dramatic scene was quietly unfolding in Virginia's House of Delegates. A recount was taking place, with votes publicly tallied on a whiteboard, to determine who won the seat: Republican incumbent David Yancey, or Democratic challenger Shelly Simonds — who only entered the race in August after another candidate had to drop out.

Control of the Virginia legislature, which has been held for 17 years by the GOP, hung in the balance.

And, in the end, Simonds won. By a single vote.

[Image embedded in tweet shows the front page of the Daily Press, featuring an image of Shelly Simonds smiling widely and David Yancey looking decidedly more grim, accompanied by large text reading "11,608-11,607" and smaller text reading "Every vote counted — and recounted: Democrat Shelly Simonds takes the 94th District by just one vote over incumbent Yancey."]

The Republicans still retain a small advantage in the state senate, 21-19. But the Democratic lieutenant governor, Ralph Northam, is the tiebreaker in the Senate, and Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe has veto power. Which will inevitably stymie an extremely conservative agenda. That makes this a big win for Virginia progressives!

Yancey held a lead of 10 votes going into the recount, but there was a dramatic reversal "after a painstaking counting overseen by local elections officials and the clerk of court."
Even election officials who had spent the day keeping order seemed rattled by the fact that such a momentous race could be settled in such dramatic fashion.

The adage about how every vote counts is true, said Newport News Electoral Board Chairman Sean Devlin as he announced the official result. "Please make sure to stress that," he said to the gathered reporters.

Although this story virtually tells itself.


"I knew it was going to be a roller-coaster ride, and the counts were going to change and votes were going to shift around. But I had faith in the system and final outcome," said Simonds, who stayed off Twitter to avoid anxiety. "This is part of a huge wave election in Virginia where voters came out in record numbers to force a change in Virginia, and I'm really proud to be part of that change."
Congratulations, Shelly Simonds! Congratulations, Virginian Democrats!

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