An election was decided by picking a name out of a bowl. Here is the bowl’s journey.

In the continuing saga of American politics as punch-drunk farce, a seat in Virginia’s House — a tiebreaking seat that would determine whether the state remained red and that would completely alter the future of 8.4 million residents — was chosen Thursday morning by drawing a name out of a bowl.


This is the story of that bowl.

“We had been using a glass bowl for many years, and most recently, a cardboard box,” said James Alcorn, chairman of the Virginia State Board of Elections, addressing a roomful of reporters who had gone to Richmond for the drawing.

However, Alcorn continued, for this particular tiebreaker, he felt something special was in order.

That special something was the Bowl, which on Thursday sat in front of him on a table: cobalt-colored ceramic on the outside, rust-colored ceramic on the inside, deep enough to hold two film canisters. The canisters, an elections board member said, were “brand-new” and “from Amazon,” and contained the names of David Yancey (R) and Shelly Simonds (D), the candidates tied with 11,608 votes apiece.

The Bowl appeared to be the sort of bowl one would give one’s mother-in-law for her birthday. The Bowl was meant to be filled with seashells. The Bowl could have once been swaddled in a suitcase after being purchased in a little shop in Santa Fe.

The Bowl was a symbol — a touching, valiant attempt at providing meaning and dignity to a political world that is deeply insane.

[A random drawing out of a bowl helped Republicans win a tied Virginia election]

While the name-drawing process waddled forward in Richmond, the Bowl was becoming famous online:

“I, for one, want to know more about the bowl,” wrote Slate’s politics editor Jim Newell on Twitter.

“Could someone provide a sidebar on the bowl?” asked Politico’s executive editor Paul Volpe.

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Source: washingtonpost

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