As the weather begins to turn crisp, students have more than just pumpkins and cider to look forward to. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 2, 2021 from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m., when Virginians will elect their governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, delegate and other local offices. Early voting has already been going on since Sept. 17.
To vote in Virginia, one must be a resident, but out-of-state students can still register to vote using their campus address. The deadline for voting registration is Oct. 12. Residents of Virginia can register to vote at https://www.elections.virginia.gov/. This includes a portal to register to vote, check your registration status, find your polling place and apply to vote absentee by mail. A mail-in ballot must be applied for by Oct. 22 in order to be counted. Those voting in-person can vote at the Ebenezer Baptist Church at 965 Baker Rd in Virginia Beach or early in-person at the Virginia Beach Voter & Elections Office at the Municipal Center.
This year’s election, as always, is important to pay attention to because Gov. Ralph Northam is not allowed to run for reelection. State law says that governors cannot serve consecutive terms, meaning that there is a guaranteed change in leadership for the state.
The Democratic candidate is Terry R. McAuliffe, who served as governor from 2014-2018. McAuliffe’s plans focus on raising the minimum wage, creating more jobs and immersion programs and incentivizing clean energy to become a state with 100% clean energy by 2035. The rest of his plans can be found at terrymcauliffe.com.
The Republican candidate is Glenn A. Youngkin. Youngkin is a former employee with a private equity company called the Carlyle Group. Upon winning the election, Youngkin hopes to enhance job training programs, support the mental health system in Virginia and ban the use of Critical Race Theory in schools. More information can be found at youngkinforgovernor.com.
The third candidate belongs to the Liberation Party. Princess L. Blanding is an educator and activist running as a third party candidate to prioritize community care and safety. Blanding supports universal health care, state protections for small businesses harmed by COVID-19 and environmental justice for indigenous peoples. Details on her campaign platform can be found at princessblanding.com.
Between the three candidates, it is generally considered competitive between Youngkin and McAuliffe. The Cook Political Report rates this election as a toss up, which they define as competitive and that either party has a good chance of winning. On the other hand, Sabato’s Crystal Ball with the UVA Center for Politics labels this election as leaning Democratic.
Running for lieutenant governor is Hala S. Ayala with the Democratic Party and Winsome E. Sears with the Republican Party. Ayala represents the 51st District in the House of Delegates while Sears is a former Delegate who represented the 90th District from 2002-2004. More details on Sears’s campaign can be found at winsomesears.com, and Ayala’s website is located at halaforvirginia.com.
The candidates for attorney general are incumbent Democrat and former State Senator of the 33rd District Mark R. Herring and Republican Delegate Jason S. Miyares, who currently represents part of Virginia Beach.
Additionally, all of the Virginia House of Delegates are running for election this year. The House is composed of 100 delegates that are elected for two-year terms. Currently the majority is held by Democrats, with 55 seats, while Republicans fill the remaining 45.
VWU is included in the 83rd House District and will have two candidates on the ballot. They are incumbent Democrat Nancy D. Guy who has held the seat since 2019 and Republican Tim Anderson. Guy won the 2019 election over her opposition, Chris Stolle, by only 27 votes. Since then, she has helped to pass legislation raising the minimum wage, abolishing the death penalty, creating new gun safety laws and decriminalizing marijuana. Guy also has worked to ban offshore drilling. Information about Guy and her campaign are at guyfordelegate.com.
Anderson is an attorney and small business owner, and is hoping to take back this competitive seat for the Republican Party. Anderson would like to help keep taxes low and jobs secure by opposing the Green New Deal. He also supports scholarships that allow taxes that parents pay to public schools to be reallocated to private schools for their children. More details can be found at timforva.com.
Elections will be happening for various local positions as well. Running for Virginia Beach Commissioner of the Revenue are Philip Kellam (D) and Ben Loyola (R). Colin Stolle (R) is running uncontested for Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney position. The race for sheriff is between Ken Stolle (R) and Antonio Passaro Jr. (D). For Virginia Beach Treasurer, the candidates are Leigh Henderson (R) and Laura Habr (D).
By Rhian Tramontana