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Tied Virginia House race to be decided by drawing name out of a bowl

Grab your popcorn.

The Virginia Board of Elections announced on Thursday it would pick the winner of a closely-watched state House of Delegates race, in which the Democrat and the Republican each has 11,608 votes, using slips of paper placed in film canisters.

The board scheduled the drawing for Wednesday, James Alcorn, the board's chairman, said in a tweet.

The state Board of Elections will place pieces of paper with each candidate's name on them cut into the same size and placed into two old film canisters, according to The Virginia-Pilot. The canisters will then be placed in a large glass bowl. The bowl will be shaken and then a canister picked, opened and the winner revealed. It is not yet known who will make the selection.

Standard film canister. All on white background
Standard film canister. kaarsten / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Initially, Democrat Shelly Simonds was the apparent winner in the 94th district, edging out incumbent Republican David Yancey after a recount had Simonds ahead by one vote, creating a 50-50 tie between the two parties in the Virginia House.

However, a three-judge panel later nixed Simonds' one-vote win when it ruled that a ballot that had been discarded as unreadable should in fact have been counted for Yancey, placing control of the House back in play.

Republican who originally lost Virginia House race reacts to historic tie decision 1:15

The ballot had bubbles filled in for Ed Gillespie, the Republican who lost the governor's race in November, as well as for Simonds and Yancey. However, the bubbles for Gillespie and Simonds were crossed out and the one for Yancey was not, so the judges took that as intent to vote for him.

Alcorn told the paper that the film-canister drawing has never been done before to pick a winner. He noted that in 1971, a Virginia House contest was decided by pulling a name out of a silver cup.