It was the ballot seen around the world. One voter’s flawed attempt to be counted in Newport News in December helped decide a pivotal Virginia House election and political control of the chamber. The bubbles for both candidates, David Yancey and Shelly Simonds, were filled in, but Simonds’ had a slash through it. A court had to decide the voter’s intent, which tied the race and setup the infamous name drawing out of the bowl. But had the voter simply asked for another ballot after his or her mistake, the whole thing could have been avoided.
On Friday, the State Board of Elections voted to update its ballot standards to keep the same thing from happening again.
Now, all ballots will include these instructions: “If you want to change a vote or if you have made a mistake, ask an election worker for another ballot. If you make marks on the ballot besides filling in the oval, your votes may not be counted.”