Charlottesville Electoral Board Reviews Ballots to Settle Tie - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Charlottesville Electoral Board Reviews Ballots to Settle Tie

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The democratic primary is over, but it could take until Friday before we know the second nominee for Charlottesville City Council.   

Tuesday night's primary ended in a tie between candidates Wes Bellamy and Bob Fenwick. Now, the race will come down to some of the final votes - an unprecedented situation in Charlottesville.  

Kristin Szakos walked away with an easy win for the first City Council nomination, but the race for the second nomination could be decided by provisional ballots or, if nothing else, a coin toss.

"I mean, we've had very close elections here, we've never had a tie before," said Rick Sincere, chair of the Charlottesville Electoral Board.

In the race to fill former mayor Dave Norris' seat on Charlottesville City Council, two men were locked in a tie Tuesday night - Bellamy and Fenwick each received 24 percent of the vote.

Wednesday morning, in the basement of city hall, electoral board members combed through every ballot to make sure every vote matched up.

"There often is pressure, but generally not as a result of an actual tie," Sincere.

Sincere says this tie will come down to the counting of provisional ballots. Those are votes cast, but not counted, when the eligibility of a voter is in question.  

"This is almost unprecedented, in terms of having the provisional votes actually make a difference in the outcome of the election," said Sincere.   

Officials verified and counted six provisional ballots Wednesday, putting Fenwick up three votes over Bellamy – but that could change. There are still four other provisional ballots yet to be counted, cast by voters without identification.   

"The way the law reads on this, they have until noon on Friday to visit the registrar's office with their ID, or fax a copy of their ID to the registrar's office," said Jim Nix, co-chair of the Charlottesville Democratic Party.

The electoral board has reached out to each of those voters to remind them of the deadline. "Most of them were very interested, and thankful to have received the reminder and are intent on bringing an ID in, so that's a good thing," stated Dianne Gilliland, Charlottesville's deputy voter registrar.

Regardless of the outcome, election officials will likely conduct an automatic recount. But if there is still a tie, the race would be decided by lot. In other words, depending on what the candidates agree on, a tie could be broken with a coin toss, a roll of the dice, or even a game of poker.

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