Election Day 2019 is just 32 days away, but it’s never too soon to get prepared to do your civic duty.
On Tuesday, Nov. 5, Virginians will go to the polls to elect a variety of state and local officials. All 100 seats in the House of Delegates and all 40 seats in the state Senate are up for grabs, in addition to a number of local constitutional offices.
Control of the General Assembly hangs in the balance. Republicans currently hold narrow margins in both chambers that Democrats have chipping away at since the 2017 House of Delegates election. Important issues such as gun safety laws, redistricting reform and health care reform hang in the balance depending on which party comes out on top.
In Central Virginia, four House districts and one Senate district are being contested: 22nd House District (Jennifer Woofter vs. incumbent Kathy Byron); 23rd House District (David Zilles vs. Wendell Walker); 24th District (Christian Worth, Eli Fishpaw and incumbent Ronnie Campbell); 59th District (Tim Hickey vs. incumbent Matt Fariss); and 22nd Senate District (Dakota Claytor vs. incumbent Mark Peake). Check out VOTE411.org for nonpartison election information.
But across the region, there are a slew of hotly contested local races.
Appomattox County has six contested races: the Falling River and Wreck Island seats on the Board of Supervisors; the Appomattox River and Wreck Island districts on the School Board; and open contests to elect a new sheriff and treasurer. In Amherst County, the incumbent is trying to vend off three challengers for another term as sheriff. Bedford County voters will be picking a new sheriff for the first time in two decades from among three hopefuls and deciding challenges for the District 5 and District 7 seats on the School Board. Campbell County voters have three contested Board of Supervisor seats in the Altavista, Concord and Spring Hill districts; countywide, there’s a three-way contest for the open job of sheriff and a two-person race for the open job of treasurer.
Now you know the races and the stakes; here are some important dates, courtesy of the League of Women Voters, to keep in mind:
» Ongoing: Absentee in-person voting is underway at your local Voter Registrar’s Office Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
» Oct. 15: Last day to register to vote or change your address or name;
» Saturday, Oct. 26, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Vote absentee in person at the Registrar’s Office;
» Oct. 29: Last day to apply online, by fax or mail for an absentee ballot;
» Saturday, Nov. 2, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Last day to vote absentee in person at the Registrar’s Office;
» Tuesday, Nov. 5: Election Day, polls open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
» Nov. 5, 7 p.m.: Absentee ballots must be received by the Registrar’s Office
» Nov. 8 at noon: Last day to provide the electoral board with a photo ID or information to validate a provisional ballot.
Folks, voting — making your voice heard at the ballot box — is a fundamental duty and responsibility of a citizen of this nation. It’s how we keep our government in check. When we don’t vote, when we find one reason or another not to carry out our civic duty, our democratic republic suffers.
Now, register, educate yourself and vote.