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The When and How of Randomly Selecting a Delegate

AP Photo / Ben Finley

A rollercoaster House of Delegates race won’t have a winner until after Christmas. Next Wednesday, the tied race will be decided by random selection. The process could determine party control of Virginia’s lower chamber.

Here’s how it will work: the two candidates’ names will be written on two pieces of paper. Shelly Simonds is the Democrat and David Yancey is the Republican.

According to James Alcorn, Chair of Virginia’s Board of Elections, each name is put into old 35mm film canisters. The canisters are sealed and placed in a bowl.

One member of the board will pull out a name, show it to the crowd, and read the name out loud. That’s the winner. Alcorn says the process is actually common practice, just not for choosing delegates.

“The process by which we randomly pick individuals is something that we do every year when we are selecting the ballot order for primary and general election ballots,” said Alcorn during a phone interview.

The drawing is scheduled for Wednesday Dec. 27 at 11a.m. at the Patrick Henry Building in Richmond. It will be open to the public and press.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Mallory Noe-Payne is a Radio IQ reporter based in Richmond.