A simple coin toss could decide whether Democrats end Republican control in the Virginia State Legislature after 17 years.
A three-judge panel declared a tie Wednesday in the election for representatives from the state's 94th District — 11,608 votes each for Democrat Shelly Simonds and Republican incumbent David Yancey.
An earlier count gave Simonds the seat by one vote. Yancey challenged the result and said a disputed ballot should be credited to him, ending the election in a tie.
Virginia state law says any election that ends in a tie will be decided “by lot,” a procedure that relies on luck. But election officials have not yet decided how and when that will happen.
If Yancey wins, the Virginia House of Delegates will stay in Republican hands. If luck is in Simond's corner, the House will be evenly split with 50 seats for each party — meaning party leaders would have to broker a power-sharing deal.
Republicans have a two-seat margin in the Virginia State Senate.