2021 VA Governor Race

Virginia's off-year elections could pose key test for both parties
CNN, Abby Phillip and Jeff SimonFebruary 28, 2021 (Medium)

Richmond, Virginia
A 16-year political shift has transformed the Commonwealth of Virginia from a solidly red state to a blue one.

Democrats in the state now control all levers of power — the Governor’s mansion, and both chambers of the state legislature — for the first time in a generation. And they are leading in an unapologetically progressive direction.

The story of Virginia politics in 2021 is a tale of two political parties. Democrats are riding a wave of demographic change and suburban revolt away from the GOP to political power. And Republicans are searching for a way forward, while trying to placate a base increasingly loyal to Trump and motivated by conspiratorial views.

As Republicans search for a path forward following Donald Trump’s defeat and the party’s loss of power in Washington, many are looking across the Potomac River to Virginia, where voters will select a new governor this November.

Well before the 2022 midterms or 2024 presidential primaries, the Virginia governor’s race will be a first real test for a post-Trump GOP — not only of whether Republicans can start to win back a state they once reliably held, but in who the party picks as its nominee.

With just three months before the state party’s planned nominating convention, attention has fallen to Amanda Chase, a pro-Trump state senator who spoke at the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington on January 6. She later called those who stormed the Capitol “patriots” and has insisted the 2020 election was stolen.

Terry McAuliffe is running for governor again. Can anyone beat him?
Virginia Mercury, Graham MoomawDecember 9, 2020 (Short)

On Wednesday, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe officially announced he’s running for a second term, launching a rare comeback bid pundits and political strategists say will be difficult, but not impossible, for other gubernatorial hopefuls to stop.

“Certainly he comes into the race in a very formidable position,” said veteran political commentator Bob Holsworth. “He’s a popular former governor. He has tons of resources. And he loves to campaign. At the same time, the open question in this campaign is whether he is the person for the moment.”

Long an open secret in state politics, McAuliffe made his 2021 campaign official in an appearance at a Richmond elementary school, where he was joined by a group of Black leaders. Among them were Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, House Majority Leader Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, and Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, who will serve as co-chairs of McAuliffe’s campaign.

We’re about to see how serious Virginia is when it comes to advancing women in the highest elective offices in the commonwealth, and that’s particularly true for Democrats.

After the briefest respite, Virginia politics revs back up and enters the national spotlight when we elect our 74th governor next year.

Not one of the first 73 — and we’ve been doing this since Patrick Henry in 1776 — has been a woman. It’s one of the longest-running perpetual fraternities in American politics. With female candidates — declared, undeclared and still mulling it over — queueing up for both parties’ nomination sweepstakes, 2021 could be the year when that changes.

A total of 44 women have served as governors in 32 U.S. states and territories dating to 1925 when Wyoming elected Democrat Nellie Tayloe Ross, five years after women won the right to vote. Most of women’s success in governors’ races has come in the 21st century when 30 of those 44 women took office in 23 states, Guam and Puerto Rico, five of which have elected women governors twice during that time.

The 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election will be held on November 2, 2021, to elect the next governor of Virginia. Incumbent Democratic Governor Ralph Northam is unable to run for reelection, as the Constitution of Virginia prohibits the officeholder from serving consecutive terms.

The Democratic Party will select its candidate in a primary election on June 8, 2021. The Republican Party will hold a drive-thru convention on May 8, 2021 at Liberty University Princess Blanding is running under the newly formed Liberation Party

Voting in Virginia

2021 ballot: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and 100 delegates.

Ballot measures: None as yet

The State Board of Elections administers elections and campaign finance laws, including the preparation of ballots and implementation of state and federal election laws (such as the Help America Vote Act).

> All city and county elections will also occur on Nov. 2, 2021.

2020 Virginia Election Results

In the presidential race, Joe Biden won Virginia’s 13 electoral votes

In the U.S. Senate race, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner won his third term. Democrats have not lost a statewide election in Virginia since 2009. Warner is a former governor and current vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Virginia’s three first-term congresswomen Elaine Luria, Abigail Spanberger, and Jennifer Wexton all won their seats although Spanberger had a close race with GOP challenger Nick Freitas.

Bob Good defeated Cameron Webb to replace David Riggleman in US House District Five.

2021 Virginia Governor Race2021 VA Governor Race

The 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election will be held on November 2, 2021, to elect the next governor of Virginia. Incumbent Democratic Governor Ralph Northam is unable to run for reelection, as the Constitution of Virginia prohibits the officeholder from serving consecutive terms.

The Democratic Party will select its candidate in a primary election on June 8, 2021. The Republican Party will hold a drive-thru convention on May 8, 2021 at Liberty University Princess Blanding is running under the newly formed Liberation Party

Virginia's off-year elections could pose key test for both parties
CNN, Abby Phillip and Jeff SimonFebruary 28, 2021 (Medium)

Richmond, Virginia
A 16-year political shift has transformed the Commonwealth of Virginia from a solidly red state to a blue one.

Democrats in the state now control all levers of power — the Governor’s mansion, and both chambers of the state legislature — for the first time in a generation. And they are leading in an unapologetically progressive direction.

The story of Virginia politics in 2021 is a tale of two political parties. Democrats are riding a wave of demographic change and suburban revolt away from the GOP to political power. And Republicans are searching for a way forward, while trying to placate a base increasingly loyal to Trump and motivated by conspiratorial views.

As Republicans search for a path forward following Donald Trump’s defeat and the party’s loss of power in Washington, many are looking across the Potomac River to Virginia, where voters will select a new governor this November.

Well before the 2022 midterms or 2024 presidential primaries, the Virginia governor’s race will be a first real test for a post-Trump GOP — not only of whether Republicans can start to win back a state they once reliably held, but in who the party picks as its nominee.

With just three months before the state party’s planned nominating convention, attention has fallen to Amanda Chase, a pro-Trump state senator who spoke at the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington on January 6. She later called those who stormed the Capitol “patriots” and has insisted the 2020 election was stolen.

Terry McAuliffe is running for governor again. Can anyone beat him?
Virginia Mercury, Graham MoomawDecember 9, 2020 (Short)

On Wednesday, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe officially announced he’s running for a second term, launching a rare comeback bid pundits and political strategists say will be difficult, but not impossible, for other gubernatorial hopefuls to stop.

“Certainly he comes into the race in a very formidable position,” said veteran political commentator Bob Holsworth. “He’s a popular former governor. He has tons of resources. And he loves to campaign. At the same time, the open question in this campaign is whether he is the person for the moment.”

Long an open secret in state politics, McAuliffe made his 2021 campaign official in an appearance at a Richmond elementary school, where he was joined by a group of Black leaders. Among them were Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, House Majority Leader Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, and Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, who will serve as co-chairs of McAuliffe’s campaign.

We’re about to see how serious Virginia is when it comes to advancing women in the highest elective offices in the commonwealth, and that’s particularly true for Democrats.

After the briefest respite, Virginia politics revs back up and enters the national spotlight when we elect our 74th governor next year.

Not one of the first 73 — and we’ve been doing this since Patrick Henry in 1776 — has been a woman. It’s one of the longest-running perpetual fraternities in American politics. With female candidates — declared, undeclared and still mulling it over — queueing up for both parties’ nomination sweepstakes, 2021 could be the year when that changes.

A total of 44 women have served as governors in 32 U.S. states and territories dating to 1925 when Wyoming elected Democrat Nellie Tayloe Ross, five years after women won the right to vote. Most of women’s success in governors’ races has come in the 21st century when 30 of those 44 women took office in 23 states, Guam and Puerto Rico, five of which have elected women governors twice during that time.

Top News

Virginia’s off-year elections could pose key test for both parties
CNN, Abby Phillip and Jeff SimonFebruary 28, 2021 (Medium)

Richmond, Virginia
A 16-year political shift has transformed the Commonwealth of Virginia from a solidly red state to a blue one.

Democrats in the state now control all levers of power — the Governor’s mansion, and both chambers of the state legislature — for the first time in a generation. And they are leading in an unapologetically progressive direction.

The story of Virginia politics in 2021 is a tale of two political parties. Democrats are riding a wave of demographic change and suburban revolt away from the GOP to political power. And Republicans are searching for a way forward, while trying to placate a base increasingly loyal to Trump and motivated by conspiratorial views.

As Republicans search for a path forward following Donald Trump’s defeat and the party’s loss of power in Washington, many are looking across the Potomac River to Virginia, where voters will select a new governor this November.

Well before the 2022 midterms or 2024 presidential primaries, the Virginia governor’s race will be a first real test for a post-Trump GOP — not only of whether Republicans can start to win back a state they once reliably held, but in who the party picks as its nominee.

With just three months before the state party’s planned nominating convention, attention has fallen to Amanda Chase, a pro-Trump state senator who spoke at the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington on January 6. She later called those who stormed the Capitol “patriots” and has insisted the 2020 election was stolen.

Terry McAuliffe is running for governor again. Can anyone beat him?
Virginia Mercury, Graham MoomawDecember 9, 2020 (Short)

On Wednesday, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe officially announced he’s running for a second term, launching a rare comeback bid pundits and political strategists say will be difficult, but not impossible, for other gubernatorial hopefuls to stop.

“Certainly he comes into the race in a very formidable position,” said veteran political commentator Bob Holsworth. “He’s a popular former governor. He has tons of resources. And he loves to campaign. At the same time, the open question in this campaign is whether he is the person for the moment.”

Long an open secret in state politics, McAuliffe made his 2021 campaign official in an appearance at a Richmond elementary school, where he was joined by a group of Black leaders. Among them were Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, House Majority Leader Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, and Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, who will serve as co-chairs of McAuliffe’s campaign.

We’re about to see how serious Virginia is when it comes to advancing women in the highest elective offices in the commonwealth, and that’s particularly true for Democrats.

After the briefest respite, Virginia politics revs back up and enters the national spotlight when we elect our 74th governor next year.

Not one of the first 73 — and we’ve been doing this since Patrick Henry in 1776 — has been a woman. It’s one of the longest-running perpetual fraternities in American politics. With female candidates — declared, undeclared and still mulling it over — queueing up for both parties’ nomination sweepstakes, 2021 could be the year when that changes.

A total of 44 women have served as governors in 32 U.S. states and territories dating to 1925 when Wyoming elected Democrat Nellie Tayloe Ross, five years after women won the right to vote. Most of women’s success in governors’ races has come in the 21st century when 30 of those 44 women took office in 23 states, Guam and Puerto Rico, five of which have elected women governors twice during that time.

Summary

The 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election will be held on November 2, 2021, to elect the next governor of Virginia. Incumbent Democratic Governor Ralph Northam is unable to run for reelection, as the Constitution of Virginia prohibits the officeholder from serving consecutive terms.

The Democratic Party will select its candidate in a primary election on June 8, 2021. The Republican Party will hold a drive-thru convention on May 8, 2021 at Liberty University Princess Blanding is running under the newly formed Liberation Party

X
Voting in Virginia 1Voting in Virginia

2021 ballot: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and 100 delegates.

Ballot measures: None as yet

The State Board of Elections administers elections and campaign finance laws, including the preparation of ballots and implementation of state and federal election laws (such as the Help America Vote Act).

> All city and county elections will also occur on Nov. 2, 2021.

Summary

2021 ballot: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and 100 delegates.

Ballot measures: None as yet

The State Board of Elections administers elections and campaign finance laws, including the preparation of ballots and implementation of state and federal election laws (such as the Help America Vote Act).

> All city and county elections will also occur on Nov. 2, 2021.

About

Source: Vote411.org

General Rules: Absentee voting is available and no excuse is required. The last day to request an absentee ballot is 11 days before an election. You can return your absentee ballot request form through mail, in person at your local elections office, or online. Voted ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received by 12pm 3 days after the election in order to be counted. You can sign up to track your absentee ballot on your Department of Elections website.  Absentee ballots may be processed but not tabulated before Election Day. 

Those who requested an absentee ballot but end up voting in person: Voters must surrender their absentee ballots before receiving a regular ballot in person. If the voter does not bring their Vote by Mail ballot to the polls, they can still vote a regular ballot during the Early Voting by signing a Gold Form, but they will vote a Provisional Ballot on Election Day. However, if the pollbook indicates that the voter was not only issued a Vote by Mail ballot but also that the ballot was returned, the voter can only vote a Provisional Ballot that will be reviewed by the local Electoral Board to ensure that the individual only votes once. Do not mail a ballot and vote in person. For specifics, you can find your local county registrar contact info here.

You may now request an absentee ballot online! Just fill out and submit this form before the deadline (5pm 11 days before the election).

All voters are eligible for absentee voting either in-person or by mail for 45 days before the election. You can request your absentee ballot at any time during the year.

Voted mail ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and be received by your local registrar by noon on the third day after the election in order to be counted.

You can check the status of your absentee ballot with the Absentee Ballot Status Look Up tool.

As a reminder, first time voters who registered through the mail may vote absentee, but you must mail a copy of one of the below forms of ID with your absentee ballot:

  • Valid photo ID
  • Current utility bill
  • Other government document that confirms name and address

Emergency Absentee Voting

You can apply for an emergency absentee ballot if you:

  • Are hospitalized or have an illness
  • You are dealing with a hospitalization, illness or death of a spouse, child or parent
  • Have another emergency found to justify an emergency absentee ballot

If you meet these requirements, you can have a designated representative request an absentee ballot through the day before the election. You must complete the application and deliver it to the local registrar’s office by 2pm the day before the election. Voted ballots must be returned before the polls close on Election Day.

Twitter

Contact

Email: VA Board of Elections

Locations

VA Board of Elections
Washington Building, First Floor
1100 Bank Street, Richmond 23219
Phone: (800) 552-9745

Web

Government website, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook

Videos

Voter Registration Video

Registering to Vote

General Information

Who can register

To register in Virginia you must:

  • be a citizen of the United States;
  • be a resident of Virginia and of the precinct in which you want to vote;
  • be 18 years old by the next general election;
  • not have been convicted of a felony, or have had your civil rights restored; and
  • not currently be declared incapacitated by a court.

How to register

  1. Use our Register to Vote form below to fill out the National Voter Registration Form.
  2. Sign and date your form. This is very important!
  3. Mail or hand-deliver your completed form to the address we provide.
  4. Make sure you register before the voter registration deadline.

Election Day registration
N/A

Voting Rights restoration

If you have been convicted of a felony and have questions about whether you can register to vote, visit Restore Your Vote to determine your eligibility.

Registration status

Registration form


Voting

General Information

Voting as a Student

Learn more from Campus Vote Project about voting for students.

Overseas and Military Voting

You are a Military or Overseas voter if you are in uniformed services, living overseas OR a spouse or dependent of a uniformed services voter. To get registered and vote, you can utilize Overseas Vote Foundation.

If you have additional questions about elections and voting overseas you can use our state specific elections official directory or contact the Overseas Vote Foundation.

Voting with Disabilities

Any person, regardless disability status, has the right to register to vote at any office or agency that provides such a service. These offices include but are not limited to: Department of Health (VDH), Department of Social Services (DSS), Department of Mental Health (DMHRSAR), Department for Rehabilitation Services (DRS), Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH), and the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI).

Your local registrar’s office also has registration forms and should be able to accommodate any special needs. In addition, you can download a voter registration form from the state board of elections website.

  • Curbside voting is still available for people ages 65 and older, or any person with a disability. With the implementation of HAVA (Help America Vote Act), curbside voters may now be able to vote on an electronic voting device in lieu of a paper ballot. However, some cities continue to use paper ballots. To vote curbside you must ask your driver or other individual to inform the election officers that there is a person that wishes to vote curbside. The necessary equipment will then be brought to you in your vehicle. You shall be afforded every opportunity to vote in a private and independent fashion, but voting equipment must remain in the view of the election officers.
  • You have the right to have an election officer or other person help you vote if you are physically disabled, unable to read or unable to write. Blind voters may also have any person assist them.
  • You may have anyone who is not your employer or union representative assist you. The officer of election or other person so designated who helps you prepare your ballot shall do so in accordance with your instructions, without soliciting your vote or in any manner attempting to influence your vote, and shall not in any manner divulge or indicate, by signs or otherwise, how you voted on any office or question. For individuals with vision impairments the state board of elections works to provide large print copies of all voting related material. Your local registrar’s office should have large print versions of all materials in circulation at this time.
  • In accordance with the Help America Vote Act, Virginia is in the process of making all of its polling places fully accessible to elderly voters and voters with disabilities. If you find that your polling place is not accessible for any reason please fill out the voter accessibility feedback form. The state board of elections is dedicated to providing the best voting experience possible, and will value your input and will keep any remarks confidential.
  • In accordance with the Help America Vote Act, every polling location in Virginia must be equipped with at least one accessible voting system that will allow all voters with a disability to vote in the same private and independent manner as a voter without a disability. If you require voting assistance due to a physical disability or inability to read or write, you can receive it upon request. Any of the election officers can advise you of your rights in this area. If you have cognitive disabilities, due to any reason, you can be eligible to vote if you are not currently ruled to be mentally incompetent by a court of law.

For more information, you can utilize the American Association of People With Disabilities (AAPD) resource.

Early Voting

For more information on times and locations please contact your local registrar.

To qualify for absentee in-person voting you must be:

  • Any person who, in the regular and orderly course of his business, profession, or occupation or while on personal business or vacation, will be absent from the county or city in which he is entitled to vote;
  • Any person who is (i) a member of a uniformed service of the United States, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 1973ff-6(7), on active duty, or (ii) a member of the merchant marine of the United States, or (iii) who temporarily resides outside of the United States, or (iv) the spouse or dependent residing with any person listed in (i), (ii), or (iii), and who will be absent on the day of the election from the county or city in which he is entitled to vote. See Absentee Voting Procedures for Overseas Personnel (Military & Non-Military)
  • Any student attending a school or institution of learning, or his spouse, who will be absent on the day of election from the county or city in which he is entitled to vote;
  • Any person who is unable to go in person to the polls on the day of election because of a disability, illness or pregnancy ;
  • Any person who is confined while awaiting trial or for having been convicted of a misdemeanor, provided that the trial or release date is scheduled on or after the third day preceding the election. Any person who is awaiting trial and is a resident of the county or city where he is confined shall, on his request, be taken to the polls to vote on election day if his trial date is postponed and he did not have an opportunity to vote absentee;
  • Any person who is a member of an electoral board, registrar, officer of election, or custodian of voting equipment;
  • Any person serving as a designated representative of a political party, independent candidate or candidate in a political party;
  • Any duly registered person who is unable to go in person to the polls on the day of the election because he is primarily and personally responsible for the care of an ill or disabled family member who is confined at home.
  • Any duly registered person who is unable to go in person to the polls on the day of the election because of an obligation occasioned by his religion.
  • Any person who, in the regular and orderly course of his business, profession, or occupation, will be at his place of work and commuting to and from his home to his place of work for eleven or more hours of the thirteen that the polls are open (6:00 AM to 7:00 PM).
  • Certain first responders who meet code definitions for law-enforcement officers, firefighters, search and rescue personnel and emergency medical services personnel.
  • Any registered and qualified voter may request a mail ballot for presidential and vice-presidential electors only by writing across the top of their absentee application “request ballot for presidential electors only.” A voter who votes a “presidential only” ballot may not later decide to vote the rest of the ballot. The same procedures and deadlines apply as for other absentee applications and ballots. Please note: When completing your absentee ballot application, reason 7A should only be used by voters who have moved to another state (away from Virginia) less than 30 days before the presidential election. This reason code should not be selected by voters that do not intend to move to another state less than 30 days prior to the election.

The electoral board will usually make ballots available for absentee voting 45 days prior to Election Day and ending 3 days before Election Day.

Vote by Mail (Absentee)

Absentee ballot process

Absentee voting is available and no excuse is required. The last day to request an absentee ballot is 11 days before the election (October 23rd, 2020). You can return your absentee ballot request form through mail, in person at your local elections office, or online. Voted ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and received by 12pm 3 days after the election in order to be counted.

ALERT: Due to COVID-19 (coronavirus), voters mailing absentee ballots for the November General Election do NOT need a witness. Please contact the Board of Elections for more information.

You may now request an absentee ballot online! Just fill out and submit this form before the deadline (5pm 11 days before the election).

All voters are eligible for absentee voting either in-person or by mail for 45 days before the election. You can request your absentee ballot at any time during the year.

Voted mail ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and be received by your local registrar by noon on the third day after the election in order to be counted.

You can check the status of your absentee ballot with the Absentee Ballot Status Look Up tool.

As a reminder, first time voters who registered through the mail may vote absentee, but you must mail a copy of one of the below forms of ID with your absentee ballot:

  • Valid photo ID
  • Current utility bill
  • Other government document that confirms name and address

Emergency Absentee Voting

You can apply for an emergency absentee ballot if you:

  • Are hospitalized or have an illness
  • You are dealing with a hospitalization, illness or death of a spouse, child or parent
  • Have another emergency found to justify an emergency absentee ballot

If you meet these requirements, you can have a designated representative request an absentee ballot through the day before the election. You must complete the application and deliver it to the local registrar’s office by 2pm the day before the election. Voted ballots must be returned before the polls close on Election Day.

How to get Absentee ballot

  1. Use our Absentee Ballot Form below to prepare your application.
  2. Sign and date the form. This is very important!
  3. Return your completed application to your Local Election Office as soon as possible. We’ll provide the mailing address for you.
  4. All Local Election Offices will accept mailed or hand-delivered forms. If it’s close to the deadline, call and see if your Local Election Office will let you fax or email the application.
  5. Make sure your application is received by the deadline. Your application must actually arrive by this time — simply being postmarked by the deadline is insufficient.
  6. Please contact your Local Election Office if you have any further questions about the exact process.

What to do next

  1. Once you receive the ballot, carefully read and follow the instructions.
  2. Sign and date where indicated.
  3. Mail your voted ballot back to the address indicated on the return envelope.
  4. Your voted ballot must arrive by the deadline or it will not be counted.

Absentee ballot application deadline

  • In Person: 3 days before Election Day.
  • By Mail: 7 days before Election Day.
  • Online: 7 days before Election Day.

Absentee ballot submission deadline

Election Day

 

Absentee Ballot (form)

Elections Alert (Form)

Pollling Information

Polling Place Locator

You can find your polling place by utilizing your state resource.

If you have further questions on your polling place location, please contact your local election office.

Polling Place Hours

Polls are open from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm.

Poll Worker Information

Visit www.workelections.com to find localized information for becoming a poll worker in your area.

In order to be a poll worker in Virginia:

  • You must be registered to vote in Virginia
  • You will be entitled to compensation
  • You must be at least 18 years of age
  • Political affiliation generally required
  • You must complete required training.
  • Must be a US citizen
  • You cannot hold an elected office or be the employee of an elected official
  • You must be able to speak, read and write English

To sign up, contact your local board of elections.

State Board of Elections

The State Board of Elections is authorized to supervise, coordinate, and adopt regulations governing the work of local electoral boards, registrars, and officers of election; to provide electronic application for voter registration and delivery of absentee ballots to eligible military and overseas voters; to establish and maintain a statewide automated voter registration system to include procedures for ascertaining current addresses of registrants; to prescribe standard forms for registration, transfer and identification of voters; and to require cancellation of records for registrants no longer qualified. Code of VirginiaTitle 24.2, Chapters 14 and 4.1. The Department of Elections conducts the board’s administrative and programmatic operations and discharges the board’s duties consistent with delegated authority.

Commissioners

Christopher E. “Chris” Piper has been appointed as the Commissioner.

Commissioner, Virginia Department of Elections
Deputy Commissioner, Virginia Department of Elections

 

Litigation

Source: Wikipedia

The Virginia State Board of Elections has been a party in a number of lawsuits.

Sarvis v. Judd

In July 2014, The Rutherford Institute supported the Libertarian Party of Virginia and alleged Virginia ballot laws favored “the election chances of Democrat and Republican candidates at the expense of Libertarian Party and independent candidates.”

In Robert C. Sarvis, et al. v. Charles E. Judd, et al, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Libertarian Party of Virginia, several Libertarian Party candidates and an independent (non-party) candidate for public office in the November 2014 general election. The lawsuit challenged the Virginia State Board of Elections and the laws which require minor-party candidates to gather signatures on petitions to achieve ballot access as well as the laws which require minor-party and independent candidates’ names to be placed below those of major-party candidates on the ballot.

Libertarian Party of Virginia v. Judd

In 2013, the ACLU supported the Libertarian Party of Virginia, and contended that the Libertarians would suffer “irreparable harm” given Virginia’s ballot access laws.

In Libertarian Party of Virginia v. Judd, the Libertarian Party won the case regarding state residency requirements for petition circulators per the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on May 29, 2013. It was the first time a minor party had won a constitutional election law case in the Fourth Circuit since 1989 and 1988. In response to the Fourth Circuit’s ruling, the State of Virginia via former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as well as several other states, like Oklahoma, submitted petitions to the Supreme Court of the United States asking to reverse the Fourth Circuit’s decision. On December 2, 2013, the petitions against the Fourth Circuit’s ruling were denied by the Supreme Court, and so the Libertarian Party of Virginia won the case regarding state residency requirements for petition circulators.

Perry v. Judd

In January 2012, Texas Governor Rick Perry, former senator Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. failed to qualify for the ballot and sued the State Board of Elections. U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. denied the request to add their names to Virginia’s Republican primary ballot.

Project Vote v. Long

In February 2010, after receiving reports from local community partners regarding large numbers of rejected voter registration applications, Project Vote and its voting partner, Advancement Project, sought to review Norfolk’s rejected registration applications to ascertain if qualified persons were unlawfully kept off the voting rolls. Elisa Long, the general registrar of Norfolk, and Nancy Rodrigues, secretary of the State Board of Elections denied Project Vote and Advancement Project the right to review the records, and both groups filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia.

In July 2011, the Court granted Project Vote’s Motion for Summary Judgment and ordered the Norfolk County Registrar “to permit access to any requesting party for copy and/or inspection of voter registration applications and related records,” in compliance with public disclosure requirements under the National Voter Registration Act.

Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections

In Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections (1966) the U.S. Supreme Court found that Virginia’s poll tax was unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. The 24th Amendment (1964) prohibited poll taxes in federal elections. However, five states continued to impose a poll tax for voters in state elections. By this ruling, the Supreme Court banned the use of a poll tax in state elections.

Ballot access

Source: Wikipedia

Virginia has one of the most restrictive set of ballot access laws in the United States. According to the Code of Virginia subsection 24.2-101, without “major party” status for automatic ballot access in Virginia, minor party and independent candidates have to gather petition signatures to get on the ballot. For example, the requirement for statewide elections is 10,000 signatures, including at least 400 from each of Virginia’s 11 congressional districts. In order for a minor party to gain automatic ballot access as a major party, one of its nominated candidates must receive 10% of the vote in a statewide race. To obtain the signatures necessary to receive statewide ballot access in Virginia, it has been quoted to cost between $45,000 to $90,000 or up to $100,000.

How to run for office

Source: Board of Elections

These qualifications and requirements may vary slightly depending on whether the office sought is a local office, a general assembly seat, a statewide office, or a federal office. Generally, all candidates must meet the following minimum qualifications:

  • Be qualified to vote for and hold the office sought, and
  • Be a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia for one year immediately preceding the election.

The board has developed and published candidate informational bulletins specific to each office type. In addition to the qualifications, forms and filing requirements, candidate information bulletins provide candidates with information he/she will need to run for office.

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Virginia onAir Highlights 22020 Virginia Election Results

In the presidential race, Joe Biden won Virginia’s 13 electoral votes

In the U.S. Senate race, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner won his third term. Democrats have not lost a statewide election in Virginia since 2009. Warner is a former governor and current vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Virginia’s three first-term congresswomen Elaine Luria, Abigail Spanberger, and Jennifer Wexton all won their seats although Spanberger had a close race with GOP challenger Nick Freitas.

Bob Good defeated Cameron Webb to replace David Riggleman in US House District Five.

Summary

In the presidential race, Joe Biden won Virginia’s 13 electoral votes

In the U.S. Senate race, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner won his third term. Democrats have not lost a statewide election in Virginia since 2009. Warner is a former governor and current vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Virginia’s three first-term congresswomen Elaine Luria, Abigail Spanberger, and Jennifer Wexton all won their seats although Spanberger had a close race with GOP challenger Nick Freitas.

Bob Good defeated Cameron Webb to replace David Riggleman in US House District Five.

Results of 2020 Virginia Election

Voting process

Source: Virginia Mercury

Virginia deserves credit for making it easier for people to vote, but reporting the results needs work

Bob Lewis, November 9, 2020

Voters cast ballots at Main Street Station in Richmond. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

That sense of whiplash you may have felt as you watched election returns in Virginia after its largest turnout election ever —more than 4.1 million votes — is not your imagination.

Some Republicans were excited for most of Tuesday evening as ballots cast on Election Day at Virginia’s nearly 2,500 polling places were tabulated and posted. President Donald Trump appeared to be beating Democrat Joe Biden in the reliably blue commonwealth, and it appeared that Republican novice Daniel Gade might unseat U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, a former governor and the dean of Virginia’s Democratic elected officeholders.

Then along came the 2.7 million in-person and mailed absentee ballots that Virginians had been casting for weeks. That’s when reality crashed down on the state’s GOP – some harder than others.

After The Associated Press called the race for Warner the instant polls closed – and before any actual votes were counted – Gade taunted Warner and the AP, citing State Department of Elections returns that showed him ahead by 250,000 votes with 42 percent of precincts reporting.

“I got something for you, AP. You better walk it back,” he told an Election Night coterie of supporters. “Just like all of us conceded nothing during this entire race, I concede nothing. I’m coming for you, Mark Warner!”

AP’s call proved correct after the early and absentee votes were posted. Warner cruised to an 11 percentage-point victory and a third term in the Senate, and a chastened Gade tweeted a more graceful concession Wednesday morning.

Aside from his rookie mistake of sounding off with so little of the total vote counted, Gade’s frustration is relatable. Getting unofficial returns in conflicting, consecutive dumps is foreign to our experience of a sure and quick tally of the Election Day vote followed by a smattering of absentees that were rarely significant. This year, those early and absentee ballots were the tail that wagged the dog. The bifurcated process confused and vexed those who aren’t news nerds or politics junkies. Even some network pundits and cable news talking heads were flummoxed, voicing alarm nationally that Trump was blowing Biden’s doors off in a state where no Republican has won a statewide election in 11 years.

Chris Piper, Virginia’s election commissioner, says there’s got to be a better way.

“Election Day votes were tallied first. So those votes that came in before Election Day were a big dump later on in the evening, and it significantly changed things,” Piper said. “The question is how can we get those early votes in more quickly.”

For a few hours, it created a misleading impression because of the disparate ways and times Democrats and Republicans cast their ballots.

“I think one party’s voters chose to vote mostly early, and another party’s voters chose to vote mostly in person on Election Day, and it’s hard to balance the reporting of both of those at the same time,” Piper said.

The dismay created by AP’s and other news organizations’ early race calls for Democrats who appeared hopelessly behind in the Department of Elections’ online count found its way to Piper’s office Tuesday night, even though neither he nor his department has any role in proclaiming winners. That rests solely with the media.

“We got a lot of questions during the evening: ‘How can you call it for Warner when he’s down by 500,000 votes,’” Piper said. “It’s hard answering that question.”

An election official collects a ballot from a drive-up voter at the Fluvanna Community Center in Fluvanna County, Nov. 3, 2020. (Parker Michels-Boyce / For the Virginia Mercury)

While the counting and reporting process created consternation, Virginia executed its election very well compared to many other states. Some of the credit goes to the state’s seasoned election administrators and the time they had to work the bugs out. Much of it goes to a raft of new election reforms that took effect this year, many of them enacted last winter by a General Assembly in its first year of Democratic control.

New laws rolled back decades of Republican restrictions and liberalized absentee and early in-person voting. They eliminated the requirement to cite a reason for voting absentee rather than on Election Day and the requirement that voters present government-issued photo identification at polling places. To encourage home-sheltered voting in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers provided funding to have stamped, self-addressed envelopes for voters to use in returning their completed ballots. And, starting this year, Virginians had the option of casting ballots in-person up to 45 days before the election at local registrars’ offices and designated local satellite voting facilities.

In some large localities, lines stretching the length of several football fields were not uncommon as the election drew nigh, but most reports showed queues moving briskly. Piper says that was because registrars had time to adapt their processes and improve efficiency.

Perhaps the most important advantage, in hindsight, has been around for a while: the leeway Virginia law gives its registrars to process and count absentee ballots before the election.

By Wednesday morning, Virginia’s preliminary tally was over and the state avoided the pressure-cooker spectacle that consumed election officials in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and neighboring North Carolina. Those battlegrounds had denied their local election officials the ability to get a jump on absentee counting. So, with a razor-thin margin and the presidency hanging in the balance as the whole world watched, those states began the laborious, meticulous, round-the-clock ordeal of counting absentee ballots on Tuesday. They were still at it Friday, with some eyeing another week of work.

Forty-eight hours after polls closed in Nevada, its six electoral votes remained in long-term limbo as Biden nursed a slim lead over Trump in a deliberately unhurried process in which the state’s administrators shrugged off appeals for urgency. Mail-in ballots postmarked on or before Nov. 3 can be received through tomorrow, and it could be the end of this week before complete totals are available, a Nevada election official said Thursday.

That’s not to say that Virginia’s election process is free of warts. The registrar’s sloppy handling of some absentee ballots in Henrico County raised legitimate questions about Democratic U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s paper-thin lead over her GOP challenger, Del. Nick Freitas, based on complete but unofficial returns in the 7th Congressional District race.

“We’re all going to sit down and look at the election and how it went,” Piper said. “There were a lot of different things we did this year that we hadn’t done in the past. Overall, I am going to credit the registrars for the hard work that they did to implement these things. But, certainly, there are ways we can get better at it and we’ll continue to work on that.”

And be glad, perhaps, that we’re not Nevada.

 

Slow counting of down ballots

Source: Virginia Mercury

After Biden and Warner win Virginia, slow counting delays results in down ballot contests

Graham Moomaw – November 4, 2020

An election official wipes down a table after every voter in Buckingham County, Nov. 3, 2020. (Parker Michels-Boyce / For the Virginia Mercury)

Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner were quickly declared victors Tuesday in Virginia, but the task of counting an extraordinary amount of absentee ballots left several other contests unresolved early Wednesday morning.

Minutes after the polls closed at 7 p.m., the Associated Press said Warner had defeated Republican challenger Daniel Gade. The AP later called the presidential contest for Biden, giving him Virginia’s 13 Electoral College votes if unofficial results hold.

But several competitive congressional races were uncalled as Tuesday turned to Wednesday, with results watchers waiting for local election officials to report their early voting numbers.

The 2.7 million votes cast by mail or in person prior to Election Day muddled the results that appeared Tuesday evening, showing Republican candidates with strong leads in a state predicted to stay solidly Democratic.

Biden pulled ahead of Trump in Virginia shortly after midnight, as more votes from heavily Democratic areas, including populous Fairfax County, started to come in.

Similarly confusing situations played out in some of the congressional races considered most competitive, with the AP unable to call the contests.

Republican House candidate Nick Freitas, a GOP state delegate from Culpeper, greets voters outside a Henrico County polling place on Election Day. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

In two of those races, first-term Democratic Reps. Abigail Spanberger, D-Henrico and Elaine Luria, D-Norfolk, were trying to hold off challenges from Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, and former Congressman Scott Taylor, respectively.

U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Henrico, greets voters at a polling place in Henrico County on Election Day. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

In the third, Democrat Cameron Webb conceded defeat to GOP candidate Bob Good, who beat incumbent Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Nelson, in a primary this summer.

It wasn’t clear when the outcomes of the other races might be known, but officials will still be counting some late-arriving ballots that come in before noon Friday. Final numbers likely won’t be available until then.

Former Campbell County Supervisor Bob Good, a Republican, defeated Democrat Cameron Webb for Virginia’s 5th congressional district seat Tuesday. (Good campaign)

First-term Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Leesburg, also defeated Republican challenger Aliscia Andrews, according to the AP, and other congressional incumbents appeared headed to re-election with no surprises.

In a hotly contested ballot referendum, voters appeared to signal broad approval for a constructional amendment to largely strip the General Assembly of its authority to redraw legislative and congressional districts. The amendment would create a 16-member, bipartisan commission that would redraw the state’s political maps starting with the 2021 redistricting process. Early results showed about 66 percent of voters supporting the amendment, with about 3/4 of the expected vote counted.

Voters in four cities also approved local referendums allowing casinos to be built in Bristol, Portsmouth, Danville and Norfolk, giving final approval to a casino legalization push years in the making.

Officials said Election Day went smoothly, with few reported problems.

As voters across the state cast their ballots, several said they were feeling uncertain about what might follow a uniquely important election.

Vonda Wharam, a 54-year-old teacher from Buckingham County, declined to say how she voted but said she’s never felt so uneasy about a presidential contest.

“If Trump wins it’s gonna be a riot. If Biden wins they’re gonna fuss about if the election was valid and true,” Wharam said. “That worries me.”

Jason Conway, a 24-year-old Buckingham voter studying for a job working on power lines, agreed, said he voted for Biden and Webb but was motivated mainly by wanting to get rid of Trump.

“I see the Republican party pushing this line of love your country and God and whatever whatever,” Conway said outside the polling place set up at the Buckingham County Volunteer Rescue Squad building. “I think it’s more of an emotion-based reaction versus trying to actually get equality for everyone.”

In Southwest Virginia, Franklin County resident Steve Thompson said he voted “straight Republican.”

“The Democrats are scaring me,” Thompson said. “I think they’re just too radical. They’re going to end up trying to take too many of our rights away from us, or attempt to.”

Marlene St. Clair of Ferrum said she voted for Good in the 5th District race, largely because of his alignment with Trump. “I think he’ll follow through with the things that Trump wants to do,” she said. “He won’t stand in the way of it.”

In Virginia Beach, voters were deciding a rematch between Taylor and Luria, who ran against each other before in 2018.

Former Republican Congressman Scott Taylor campaigns Tuesday outside a polling place in Virginia Beach in an attempt to take back his old seat from Democratic U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Norfolk. “Win or lose, I’m going to a beach somewhere” for a little while, he said. (Roger Chesley/ For the Virginia Mercury)

Janise Jenkins, a 39-year-old property manager, said she felt Luria was the better pick for military families.

“I didn’t like the controversy over Scott,” she said, referring to the investigation into the 2018 Taylor campaign’s efforts to get a third-party candidate on the ballot. Two former Taylor campaign staffers pleaded guilty to election fraud charges after evidence emerged showing some of the petition signatures were forged. Taylor has insisted he wasn’t involved.

Shawn Williams, a 31-year-old truck driver, said he voted for Taylor after supporting Luria in 2018.

“The Democrats are pushing me away,” he said.

Taylor himself was working the crowd at Aragona Precinct, one of Virginia Beach’s largest polling places. Asked what he’d do if he lost, Taylor said: “Win or lose, I’m going to a beach somewhere.”

Vicki Farrell, 65, had a sign in the back of her car at the Aragon Precinct in Virginia Beach urging calm following the election. “I’m worried about the report I’m hearing on protests. Antifa doesn’t care.” She said she’ll live and deal with whoever wins the presidential contest. (Roger Chesley/ For the Virginia Mercury)

At the same polling place, Vicki Farrell, 65, felt so strongly about the prospect of post-election unrest she put a sign in her car window with a plea to any voter who saw it.

It said: “Whoever wins stay calm. ‘We are not enemies but friends.’ – Abraham Lincoln”

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