CNN Frets ‘Someone Is Trying to Take’ Win From Dem in Contested VA Race

During Wednesday’s edition of Anderson Cooper 360, fill-in host and former Obama administration flack Jim Sciutto highlighted a race that was a political junkie’s dream: A race so close it would be decided by drawing a name out of a hat. But the race for Virginia’s 94th district was consequential because a win for the Democrat would change the control of the House of Delegates. Of course, Sciutto sided with the Democrat and seriously wondered if someone was trying to still the win away.

After a recount, it appeared that Democratic candidate Shelly Simonds won a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates by just one vote. At least until a panel of judges awarded her opponent, the incumbent David Yancy, one last last-minute ballot. That left the election in a tie,” Sciutto reported as he led into the segment and while sounding a little letdown.

After explaining how the tie meant a name was set to be drawn out of a hat earlier in the day, Sciutto sounded a bit more cheerful when he noted how “that process was delayed, however, because Simonds filed a motion to ask the judges to reconsider their decision on that final mystery ballot.” And instead of bringing on political experts to discuss the interesting case, he actually reached out and had Simonds on the show to make the case for her victory, with an on-screen headline claiming she was "speaking out."

CNN put a picture of the tie making ballot on the screen. The image showed where the voter filled in both bubbles for the Republican incumbent, David Yancy, and Democrat Simonds. But in an apparent effort to correct the ballot, the voter put a slash over Simonds’ bubble.

 

 

Sciutto teed Simonds up to slam the voting process. “Well, you know, in Virginia we have very clear rules. I'm sure most other states do too about what ballots can be counted and what ballots are considered overvotes to be thrown out,” she argued. “But I'm afraid that that ballot really is not in the handbook and it should have been thrown out. And it really saddens me that the judges didn't feel the same.”

So you're taking this to court in effect,” Sciutto touted in a follow-up question. “And the judges will have to decide whether this is a spoiled ballot or should be counted for the Republican?” Simonds explained to him that the court had two choices in her opinion: Send the ballot to the State Board of Elections for a ruling or to strike the ballot and give her the victory by one vote.

Before Sciutto ended the interview he got real serious and asked Simonds if she thought there was a conspiracy to steal the election out from under her: “Just very quickly, does part of you worry that someone is trying to take this away from you?” And Simonds obliged:

I think clearly my opponent's team did not play by the rules of the recount. We actually had a court order that said any ballot that was to be contested had to be marked on the recount day, on Tuesday. So they did not follow the rules of the recount.

Sciutto’s baseless speculation here was similar to what the liberal media has been saying about President Trump’s win over Hillary Clinton.

So much for "#FactsFirst." This is CNN. 

Transcript below:

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CNN
Anderson Cooper 360
December 27, 2017
8:30:13 PM Eastern

JIM SCIUTTO: We've all heard the old adage that every vote counts. For our next guest and the Virginia district she is hoping to represent, that is quite literally true. After a recount, it appeared that Democratic candidate Shelly Simonds won a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates by just one vote. At least until a panel of judges awarded her opponent, the incumbent David Yancy, one last last-minute ballot. That left the election in a tie. Thousands voted and this election was almost decided today by putting the candidate's names on slips of paper in film canisters and picking one out of a hat. It still might be decided that way.

That process was delayed, however, because Simonds filed a motion to ask the judges to reconsider their decision on that final mystery ballot. To be clear, this race and that one vote is not just about this one delegate. If Simonds wins, the Republicans lose their majority and control over the House of Delegates and that would be for the first time in 20 years.

(…)

Let's take a look at this ballot that came out of nowhere that tied it up again because I want to get your thoughts on it. Here it is. If you look down there, we'll get a little closer, I hope, to see that what happened is that this voter filled in the bubbles for both you and your Republican opponent. Now, to be clear, they then put a slash mark through your name and the question, I suppose, is whether they meant you or the other guy. But tell me your view of this and where this ballot came from.

SHELLY SIMONDS: Well, you know, in Virginia we have very clear rules. I'm sure most other states do too about what ballots can be counted and what ballots are considered overvotes to be thrown out. And there's a handbook with very clear rules about this. And that gave me a lot of confidence going into the recount. But I'm afraid that that ballot really is not in the handbook and it should have been thrown out. And it really saddens me that the judges didn't feel the same.

SCIUTTO: So you're taking this to court in effect, and the judges will have to decide whether this is a spoiled ballot or should be counted for the Republican?

SIMONDS: You know, I think the judges are going to have several options. One option is since the ballot does not appear in the handbook for the State Board of Elections, they can actually refer it to the state board for guidance, which I think would be a really good option for them. The other thing that they can do is they can decide not to count that ballot and change their opinion that it is an overvote.

(…)

SCIUTTO: Just very quickly, does part of you worry that someone is trying to take this away from you?

SIMONDS: I think clearly my opponent's team did not play by the rules of the recount. We actually had a court order that said any ballot that was to be contested had to be marked on the recount day, on Tuesday. So they did not follow the rules of the recount.

(…)


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