Oct. 28 to Nov. 3

Oct. 28 to Nov. 3
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Sheila Bynum-Coleman hands an information card to a voter at a retirement complex along with a campaign volunteer, left, in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. Bynum-Coleman is running against House Speaker Kirk Cox in November's election (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Summary

Federal: In 2018, nearly 7,000 absentee ballots arrived too late to be counted

State Executive: Gov. Northam announces grant awards for addiction recovery programs at eight Virginia colleges

State Legislature: Virginia state elections offer early political test ahead of 2020 US race

Health and Safety: Record drug overdose deaths projected in Virginia

Civil Rights: Equal Rights Amendment activists are eyeing a win in Virginia. Is now the time?

Campaign Finance: Massive money flows into Virgia as voters signal high interest

Elections: Is the anti-Trump suburban revolt escalating? Watch as Virginia votes on Tuesday

Education: A governor-appointed commission begins work on improving black history education in Virginia

Federal

In 2018, nearly 7,000 absentee ballots arrived too late to be counted

By Capital News Service/Aliviah Jones

Virginia Mercury-October 29, 2019

Virginia voters have already returned more absentee ballots in 2019 than in the November 2015 election — the last time all 140 seats in the General Assembly were up for reelection. In the last few elections there has been an uptick in absentee ballots, but not all returned ballots are counted.

A Virginia Department of Elections 2018 post-election report found that 6,771 absentee votes did not count in the 2018 election because they were returned to the registrar’s office after Election Day. Eleven were returned late in person and 6,760 were mailed late.

 

 

State Executive

Gov. Northam announces grant awards for addiction recovery programs at eight Virginia colleges

By C. Suarez Rojas

The News Virginian-October 30, 2019

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday announced a $675,000 award for Virginia Commonwealth University to help eight other universities develop addiction recovery programs modeled on the school’s over the next two years.

Speaking to university delegations, recovery advocates and state health officials in front of the Executive Mansion, Northam said the use of federal grant money to combat the opioid epidemic will help college students with substance abuse disorders realize their full potential.

Rams in Recovery at VCU will serve as a model for programs at Longwood University, Radford University, University of Mary Washington, University of Richmond, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Union University, and Washington and Lee University.

State Legislature

Virginia state elections offer early political test ahead of 2020 U.S. race

By John Whitesides

Reuters-October 30, 2019

The off-year elections for the Virginia state legislature are often a quiet, little-noticed interlude before the frenzy of the U.S. presidential campaign. But not this year.

Democrats are pouring money and star power into races that could give the party complete control of the legislative and executive branches of Virginia state government for the first time in more than a quarter-century. State Republicans, meanwhile, say the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump has fired up the Republican base.

The results next Tuesday could provide an early gauge of the staying power of the grassroots anti-Trump movement that propelled Democrats to victory in last year’s midterm congressional elections, particularly in suburban swing districts that are common in Virginia and will be vital again in the 2020 White House race.

Issues

Health and Safety

Record drug overdose deaths projected in Virginia

By Capital News Service/ Eric Everington

Virginia Mercury-October 29, 2019

After a spike in deaths during the first half of the year, Virginia officials are projecting a record number of drug overdose fatalities in 2019.

Data released Friday by Virginia’s chief medical examiner shows a big increase in deaths between January and June from overdoses of methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl, a synthetic prescription painkiller.

As a result, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner expects total drug fatalities in 2019 to approach 1,550 — a 4% jump from the previous year.

Civil Rights

Equal Rights Amendment activists are eyeing a win in Virginia. Is now the time?

By Sarah Rankin

The Virginian Pilot-October 27, 2019

As Carol Jenkins sees it, a nearly 100-year push to add the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is closer to reality now than it’s ever been.

That’s why there’s a “tremendous effort” underway to elect supporters of the long-stalled gender equality measure in Virginia’s elections next month, says Jenkins, co-president and CEO of the nationwide ERA Coalition. Advocates hope if they can pick up a few seats from Republican opponents, the once solidly conservative Southern state that’s voted down the ERA time and again might instead be the critical 38th to approve it.

Campaign Finance

Massive money flows into Virginia campaigns as voters signal high interest

By Gregory S. Schneider and Laura Vozzella

The Washington Post-October 29, 2019

Historic amounts of cash flooded Virginia campaigns in October, with several candidates raising more than $1 million in the span of three weeks — an amount once unthinkable even for a full year of campaigning in state legislative races.

Voter enthusiasm also appears to be high one week before the Nov. 5 election. State officials reported a surge in absentee voting, with about 132,000 ballots requested and 82,000 cast as of Tuesday morning. Absentee ballots can be returned through Election Day, but that total already exceeds the 78,000 requested and 62,000 cast in the same election cycle in 2015, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.

Elections

Is the anti-Trump suburban revolt escalating? Watch as Virginia votes on Tuesday

By Steve Peoples and Alan Suderman

WJLA and the Associated Press- November 2, 2019

“I don’t want to have Washington, D.C., replicated in Virginia,” she told The Associated Press. “I’m running a campaign on state issues and getting state things done.”

Dunnavant’s dance speaks to the dire threat Trump has created for Republicans in Virginia and, more broadly, suburbs across America. This is where higher-educated and more affluent voters — particularly women — have revolted against Trump’s GOP. These areas leaned Republican in the past, but amid shifting demographics and Trump’s turbulent presidency, they have transformed into the nation’s premier political battleground.

Education

A governor-appointed commission begins work on improving black history education in Virginia

By Mechelle Hankerson

Virginia Mercury-October 29, 2019

The commission charged with making recommendations to create a more accurate and complete representation of black history in state education guidelines plans to finish its work by the time the state makes changes to the Standards of Learning again.

The 34-member Virginia Commission on African American History Education in the Commonwealth started about 10 months of work Monday at the University of Virginia.

Gov. Ralph Northam established the commission via executive order in August, the same day he spoke at an event to mark the arrival of the first slaves at Fort Monroe more than 400 years ago.

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