Virginia Election: Now No Votes Matter

Yesterday, I brought you the story of the dramatic one-vote win in Virginia's House of Delegates. It was a happy story about how democracy still matters and every vote counts.

Today, it's a story about how the Republicans are killing democracy and everything is terrible.

Naturally, the Republicans, who are both terrible losers and haters of free and fair elections, couldn't tolerate the results of the recount, so they challenged the result in court. And you can guess what happened next.

Jim Morrison, Fenit Nirappil, and Gregory S. Schneider at the Washington Post: Virginia Court Tosses One-Vote Victory That Briefly Ended GOP Majority in House.
Control of Virginia's legislature hung in limbo Wednesday after a three-judge panel declined to certify the recount of a key House race, saying that a questionable ballot should be counted in favor of the Republican and tying a race that Democrats thought they had won by a single vote.

"The court declares there is no winner in this election," Newport News Circuit Court Judge Bryant L. Sugg said after the panel deliberated for more than two hours.

He said that the ballot in question contained a mark for Democrat Shelly Simonds as well as a mark for Republican Del. David Yancey but that the voter had made another mark to strike out Sim­onds's name.
The public was not allowed to get a look at the ballot in question, but reporter Jordan Pascale gave us a rendering:

During the recount, it was counted as a vote for Simonds thrown out as invalid. (Thank you to @Resisterhood for the correction!) Republicans claimed it was a vote for Yancey, and the Court agreed. So now the seat which had gone to Simonds by one vote is instead a tie.

And the mechanism for resolving it is absolutely ludicrous, as Pascale explains:
Politicos, mark your calendars for Wednesday Dec. 27.

That's the day the Virginia Board of Elections will randomly pick the winner of the high stakes and tied 94th House District race.

...The winner will be picked under a procedure that has been used for decades to determine the order of candidates on the ballot each election, Alcorn said.

* Pieces of paper with each candidate's name will be printed and cut to the same size.
* The slips will be placed in old film canisters that the Election Department has on hold.
* Those canisters will go into a bowl and be thoroughly shaken up.
* Then a board member will pick one and that person declared the winner.
That is no way to choose the winner of a democratic contest, no less one in which the control of the state legislature hangs in the balance.

Now, instead of an election in which literally every vote counted, it's turned into an election in which literally none of them will count.

Peak 2017. Sob.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus