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Satterfield wins hat draw, elected to school board

All it took was drawing a name from a box Friday morning to break a tie vote and propel incumbent Fay Satterfield to another four-year term on the Halifax County School Board as ED-6 representative.

The drawing took place outside the office of Halifax County General Registrar Judy Meeler, with Satterfield, her opponent Rita Best, officials with the registrar’s office and supporters of both candidates present as Halifax County Electoral Board Vice-Chairman Mike Cull drew Satterfield’s name.

Virginia election laws allow localities to “declare by lot which of the candidates shall be declared elected” in case of a tie vote.

Both Satterfield and Best received 686 votes in Tuesday’s election, and both expressed relief the election had been decided.

“I was ready for it to be over Tuesday, and these last two days have been very stressful,” said Satterfield. “But, I knew I had done a good job, so I left it in the Lord’s hands. He’s the one who has the plan, and we don’t know what the plan is.”

Best admitted it may sometimes be hard to accept an election tie being broken by a 50-50 drawing, but she also took a philosophical approach.

“God don’t make no mistakes,” said Best. “Fay will continue. She said she did a good job, and I think she will continue to do a good job.”

An English teacher at Bartlett-Yancey High School, Best said she will continue in that role.

“It’s a relief, yes it is, and the stress is off,” she said. 

ORIGINAL STORY: 

The ED-6 school board race between incumbent Fay Satterfield and Rita Best will come down to a drawing this morning at 10 outside the office of Halifax County Registrar Judy Meeler.

Satterfield and Best both received 686 votes in Tuesday’s election, according to the general registrar.

Meeler said Thursday the public is invited to attend the drawing, with each candidate allowed to bring one representative with them.

A member of the Halifax County Electoral Board will draw the name of the winner from a hat to determine the ED-6 school board representative for the next four years.

This is the first time in the over 28 years she’s been with the registrar’s office that a tie vote in any county election had to be broken with a drawing, according to Meeler. 

Best said Thursday she “was shocked to see the results.”

“I had no idea it was going to be a tie,” she commented, adding she planned to attend the drawing Friday morning. 

“It’s going to be interesting,” Best added. “I’ve never witnessed anything like it, so I am kind of excited, but I am surprised that they are having a drawing.”

Satterfield also expressed surprise at the tie vote Tuesday evening.

“I’m really excited to be a part of Halifax County history. If the luck of the draw doesn’t go my way, and I’m no longer the school board member, I know Election District-6 as well as the rest of the schools had a visible representative, and that’s what I enjoyed the most,” the incumbent said.

Satterfield said she would attend the drawing Friday morning.

“I know I’ve done a good job. If it turns out I don’t win, administrators have told me that I am still welcome in the schools, and I will be there,” she said, adding, “I’ve been the most visible school board member that’s ever been, and I have no problem saying that.”

Meeler confirmed Thursday the final vote totals for the ED-3 board of supervisors race, with Earl Womack beating out challengers Norman Ray Owen and Arthur Reynolds Sr.

Womack received 466 votes, compared to 460 for Owen and 311 for Reynolds.

The race for Virginia Attorney General between Republican Mark Obenshain and Democrat Mark Herring is heading for extra laps, with the election destined for a recount.

After all the precincts had reported on Wednesday, Obenshain led by 681 votes out of more than 2.2 million cast, according to the state board of elections.

Wednesday evening, the board of elections had Herring ahead by 32 votes, but hours earlier the board of elections had Obenshain ahead by 1,118 votes.

Final vote totals by the state board of elections are pending final certification on Nov. 25.

Under Virginia law, a candidate who loses by less than 0.5 percentage point can demand a recount, and the state shoulders the responsibility of paying expenses associated with the recount except for staff costs.

Voters who cast provisional ballots in Tuesday’s election had until Friday morning to bring a copy of permissible identification to his or her local electoral board in time for the vote to be counted.

In Halifax County, Obenshain received 5,779 votes compared to 3,778 for Herring.  Write-ins accounted for another 17 votes. 

Halifax County voters cast six provisional ballots on Tuesday, with five of them being counted, according to the registrar.