Ballot Box

By now, you may just want it all to come to an end so your favorite TV shows aren’t littered with political ads, your mailbox filled with fliers for the candidates and the Opinion page of your local newspaper back to “normal” without all the election-related letters to the editor.

But today — Election Day 2019 — is important, just as every election day is. Today, hundreds of thousands of your fellow Virginians will be heading to the polls to cast ballots in hundreds of state and local races and decide “Yae” or “Nay” in any number of local referenda. Today, we see democracy in action, and we can take part.

Polls opened at 6 this morning and will close at 7 this evening. Voting only takes a matter of minutes, if that. Just be sure to bring a photo ID with you when you check in.

Here in Central Virginia, there are a number of important races for local and state offices on the ballot.

Firstly, 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 for nonpartison election information.

Races for local political offices abound, too. 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.

The ability of Americans to elect their own representatives to political office is a right we often take for granted. We shouldn’t. Hundreds of millions — nay, billions — of people around the globe lack this fundamental political right and are mere subjects of their governments. Americans, on the contrary, are masters of their own fates with the power of the ballot in hand. Exercise that right today.

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