Yancey up after provisional ballot count; Simonds to call for recount

Democrat Shelly Simonds, left, and Republican Del. David E. Yancey, right.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The 94th House of Delegates seat in Newport News will certainly go to a recount.

It has to, because the winner of that seat will determine if Democrats go at least to a 50-50 split in the house.

Two other seats will likely have recounts in the 28th and 40th districts. Republicans are leading all three in election returns, and if Republicans end up winning all three then they will again control the House of Delegates by a 51-49 margin.

Democrats needed to pick up 17 seats to be at 51, so you can see how well Democrats did on Tuesday, and how poorly Republicans performed.

This is the second time Democrat Shelly Simonds has run against incumbent David Yancey (R). She lost to him two years ago, 58 to 42 percent. What a difference two years can make.

The Newport News Electoral Board met to consider 52 provisional ballots. Not all of them were from the 94th district seat.

After more than two hours of examining the ballots, the Chairman of the Newport News Electoral Board, Sean Devlin, delivered the news to reporters: “The final change in the votes Simonds had 7 votes on the provisionals, Yancey had four, which now makes the vote difference of 10.”

Simonds picked up three votes in the process.

Think about this: 10 votes out of 23,192 votes cast. That is a difference of .043 percent.

Devlin reminds us all what the truth is about elections: “Every vote counts, and anybody who wants to argue that point this is the proof in the pudding.”

Yancey supporter Steve Lyzenga’s provisional ballot was counted because the electoral board determined he did not vote absentee as the record showed on Election Day. He showed up after being called by the Yancey campaign.

“It will be counted they said,”  Lyzenga said.

Unfortunately for CNU student Holly Rice, her vote for Shelly Simonds was not allowed.

Rice was emotional because she really wanted to vote: “It must have been an error on my part updating my license. No information changed on my license, so I thought I was a qualified voter in Newport News, but they gave me a ruling that I am not.”

Simonds responded to this when alerted by us that Rice’s vote did not count.

“I do think we have work to do in Virginia. We need to make it easier for college students to vote,” Simonds said. “I think we need a polling place at CNU, and I think that would be a really good start.”

It should be pointed out that in Tuesday’s election millennials turned out in force. The statewide Democratic ticket actually held the Election Night victory party in a student center at George Mason University in Fairfax.

Simonds looks back and wonders how a vote here and a vote there could have put her on top, and Yancey would have been requesting the recount: “This is a new process for me, and I am surprised we are here. I knew it would be close, but I never thought it would be this close.”

The election is certified by the Virginia State Board of Elections on November 21. Shortly after that, Simonds will petition the court to call for a recount in what is the closest race in Virginia.

Andy Fox will have the latest on this undecided race tonight on WAVY News 10.