Today marks Virginia’s primary for several congressional seats, including a now competitive race in Virginia’s 5th District. See all of the candidates and if your congressional district has a primary here. (Don’t know what U.S. House district you live in? Check here.)
Polling locations in the state are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, many Virginians have opted to vote via mail this year.
For those voting in person, the Virginia Department of Health recommends the following:
-Vote during off-peak times
-Wear a face mask
-Stay 6-ft away from other voters and poll workers
-Wash and sanitize your hands before and after
-Avoid touching your face or mask
The 5th District
The commonwealth has taken a historic turn left during the Trump Era, with both the state House and Senate majorities being held by Democrats for the first time in years.
That has put Virignia’s 5th congressional district in play, especially after a far right candidate, Bob Good, ousted the current Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman. Members of the GOP in the conservative district turned against Riggleman after he officiated a gay wedding.
There are four Democrats currently on the ballot, vying to compete against Republican Bob Good:
-RD Huffstetler: Huffsteler is a Marine veteran and former congressional chief of staff with Silicon Valley experience. If elected, he says he would pursue a public-health care option, expand rural broadband and increase the recruitment of teachers in rural areas through loan forgiveness.
-John Lesinki: He’s a retired Marine Corps colonel and former elected official in Rappahannock County who says he would focus on healthcare, the climate crisis and passing an infrastructure and investment bill that to bolster the nation’s bridges, tunnels and airports.
His platform supports the following:
- Universal broadband
- Demilitarizing police
- Medicare for all
- A Green New Deal
In terms of activism, Lesinki has joined anti-racism and police brutality protests in Charlottesville and has stated that “Black Lives Matter.”
-Claire Russo: Russo is former Marine Intelligence officer and advocate for victims of military sexual assault. As a survivor of assault herself, she has made it her mission to improve the handling of these cases in the military.
Russo was drugged and raped at a military ball in 2004. While the rapist was convicted in civilian court in a landmark ruling, the military had declined to press charges against him.
“I had spent my whole life wanting to be a Marine, so it was real hard for me to feel like the Marine Corps had failed me and wasn’t living up to what they were, in telling me it wasn’t a crime to be raped,” she said in a statement to the Post.
Russo has stated that she cannot stand on the sidelines and let the “abhorrent leadership in the White House drag this country through the dirt.”
-Cameron Webb: Webb is a 37-year-old physician, former White House fellow and health policy researcher. Webb cites his experience in healthcare and social justice as preparation to serve in Congress amidst the coronavirus pandemic and the statewide outrage of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police.
“As an African-American man, I know very well we don’t need validators and we don’t need some to empower us, the power already lies with the community,” he said, “It’s about being one voice of many.”
If elected, he states that he would work to implement a public health-care option critical to universal coverage as well as working on criminal justice reform.
UPDATE (5/18): Tomorrow, 550 municipal elections will be held across the state. And with the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing in Virginia, making sure that residents can still perform their civic duties safely has become a priority.
In a press conference on Friday, Gov. Ralph Northam explained the precautions that the state and counties are taking during this Election Day to ensure the safety of Virginia voters and poll workers.
“We have done everything that we can to make voting as safe as it can be,” Northam said. “As I’ve said before, someone shouldn’t have to choose between their health and voting.”
Here are some of the safety precautions Northam said will be in place on election day:
-Registrars will be provided with personal, protective equipment and cleaning supplies in order to sanitize machines and other surfaces. They will also be promoting social distancing.
-Gatherings of more than 10 people at one location is strictly prohibited under state social distancing requirements.
-National Guard and volunteer medical staff will help staff some polling locations because they’re younger and may carry fewer health risks, according to Northam.
-Curbside voting will be available at certain polling locations and is encouraged for any voters who are high risk or aged 65 or above.
-Wearing a face mask and using hand sanitizer, while not required, are strongly encouraged at polling locations.
However, absentee voting is still the preferred method. On their website, the Virginia Department of Elections strongly encourages voters to protect their health from COVID-19 by voting absentee.
UPDATE: You have until 5 p.m. on May 12 to apply for an absentee ballot to vote in any of the municipal elections occurring on May 19.
UPDATE: Gov. Ralph Northam has postponed May General and Special Elections from May 5 to May 19. The deadline to register to vote has already passed, but you have until May 12 to request an absentee ballot. You can get your absentee ballot here. Voters are encouraged to get an absentee ballot so they don’t have to go in-person to the polls.
Northam tried to postpone the municipal elections to November in an effort to maintain social distancing for as long as possible. But that needed approval from the General Assembly, and the state Senate voted it down.
Much of normal daily life in Virginia has shut down due to the novel coronavirus. But there are still 550 municipal elections that’ll be happening May 19 (it was previously May 5), giving Virginians a chance to vote from local government positions like mayor and city council members.
The last day to register to vote is April 15, and the last day to get your absentee ballot is May 12. And due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Virginia Department of Elections is actually encouraging voters to vote absentee this year.
Virginia requires voters to have a reason for voting absentee, and the VDE is urging voters to use reason 2A, which cites disease/disability, to avoid voting in person. Curbside voting has been suggested as an alternative to in-person voting. You can apply for an absentee ballot online here.
Absentee voting begins on April 28, and with the mail often taking 3-5 days, the VDE is urging voters not to wait until the last minute.
Election day takes place on Tuesday, May 19 and all ballots must be accounted for by 7 p.m. And below we have a guide to all 550 elections taking place across the Commonwealth:
ACCOMACK COUNTY: The cities of Accomack, Belle Haven, Chincoteague, Hallwood, Keller, Onancock, Parksley, Saxis, Tangear and Wachapreague are holding elections for mayor and town council (see below for number of seats). Polling locations are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Accomack County: Mayor, six seats for town council
Belle Haven: Mayor, five seats for town council, recorder
Chincoteague: Mayor, three seats for town council
Hallwood: Mayor, six seats for town council
Keller: Mayor, six seats for town council
Onancock: Mayor, three seats for town council
Parksley: Mayor, three seats for town council
Saxis: Mayor, six seats for town council
Tangier: Mayor, six seats for town council
Wachapreague: Mayor, six seats for town council
ALBEMARLE COUNTY: The town of Scottsville is holding elections for mayor and six seats for town council. Polling locations are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
APPOMATTOX COUNTY: The town of Appomattox and Pamplin are holding elections for mayor and seats for town council.
Appomattox: Six seats for town council
Pamplin: Six seats for town council
BRUNSWICK COUNTY: The town of Lawrenceville will be holding elections in two of their districts for two seats in their town council. Polling locations are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
CARROLL COUNTY: Pine Creek Ward and Piper’s Gap Ward will be holding elections for a seat in town council. The town of Hillsville will be holding elections for mayor.
CHESAPEAKE CITY: The city of Chesapeake will be holding elections for mayor, as well as three city council member seats and four seats on the school board.
FAIRFAX COUNTY: The towns of Clifton and Vienna are holding elections for mayor and town council. Polling locations are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Clifton: Five seats for town council
Vienna: Three seats for town council
FRANKLIN COUNTY: The cities of Boones Mill and Rocky Mount are both holding elections for town council while Boones Mills is also holding elections for mayor.
Boones Mill: Three seats in city council
Rocky Mount: Three seats in city council
FREDERICKSBURG CITY: The city of Fredericksburg is holding elections for two seats of city council, two seats on the school board and for mayor. Polling locations are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
HALIFAX COUNTY: Both Scottsburg and South Boston are holding elections for mayor, as well as town council.
Scottsburg: Five seats in town council
South Boston: Three seats in town council
HAMPTON CITY: The city of Hampton will be holding elections for mayor, three seats on city council and four members of the school board. Polling locations are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
HANOVER COUNTY: The city of Ashland is holding elections for three seats on town council. Polling locations are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
LANCASTER COUNTY: The towns of Irvington, Kilmarnock and White Stone are holding elections for seats on town council, while Irvington is holding elections for mayor.
Irvington: Three seats on town council
Kilmarnock: Three seats on town council
White Stone: Four seats on town council
LEE COUNTY: The towns of Jonesville and St Charles are both holding elections for mayor and town council.
Jonesville: Seven seats on town council
St. Charles: Six seats on town council
LOUDOUN COUNTY: The cities of Hamilton, Lovetteville, Middleburg, Purcellville and Round Hill will be all holding elections for mayor as well as town council. Last day to vote absentee in:person May 2. The office will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hamilton: One seat for town council (special), three seats for town council
Lovettsville: Three seats for town council
Middleburg: One seat for town council (special), three seats for town council
Purcellville: Three seats for town council
Round Hill: One seat for town council (special), three seats for town council
MECKLENBURG COUNTY: The towns of Boydton, Chase City, Clarksville, Lacrosse and South Hill will be holding elections for mayor. All these towns excluding South Hill will also hold elections for town council.
Boydton: Three seats on town council
Chase City: Three seats on town council
Clarksville: Three seats on town council
Lacrosse: One seat on town council (special), three seats on town council
NEWPORT NEWS: The city of Newport News is holding elections for one seat on city council and one seat on the school board. Government buildings are currently closed to the public but The Office of Elections is providing curbside services to those in need.
NORFOLK CITY: Norfolk is currently holding elections for mayor, one seat on the city council (superward) and one seat on the school board (superward). Government buildings are currently closed to the public from March 16 to March 30.
PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY: All of the wards of Farmville will vote for one At Large member of town council. Wards D and E, will all be holding elections for members of their town council. The voter registration office will be open May 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. to take absentee ballots in person.
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY: The cities Dumfries, Haymarket, Occoquan and Quantico are holding elections for members of city council. All excluding Dumfries will be holding elections for mayor.
Dumfries: Three seats for city council
Haymarket: Six seats for city council
Occoquan: Five seats for city council
Quantico: Five seats for city council
PULASKI COUNTY: The towns of Dublin and Pulaski will be holding elections for mayor and members of town council. Polling locations open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Dublin: Three seats for town council
Pulaski: Three seats for town council
RADFORD CITY: The city of Radford will be holding elections for two members of the school board and city council.
RICHMOND COUNTY: The town of Warsaw will be holding elections for four seats of the town council.
ROANOKE COUNTY: The town of Vinton will be holding elections for mayor and 2 seats of town council. Roanoke county will close all buildings effective Monday, March 23. All business will be handled over the phone, email or online.
SHENANDOAH COUNTY: The towns of Edinburg, Jackson, New Market, Strasburg, Toms Brook and Woodstock will be voting on members of the town council. New Market, Strasburg and Woodstock will also be voting for mayor.
Edinburg: Three seats for town council
Jackson: Three seats for town council
New Market: Three seats for town council
Strasburg: Four seats for town council
Toms Brook: Six seats for town council
Woodstock: Three seats for town council
SOUTHAMPTON COUNTY: The cities of Boykins, Capron, Courtland (District A:C), Ivor and Newsoms will be voting on members of town council, as well as mayor.
Boykins: Five seats on town council
Capron: Six seats on town council
Courtland: Two seats on town council (District A), two seats on town council (District B), two seats on town council (District C)
Ivor: Six seats on town council
Newsoms: Six seats on town council
WYTHE COUNTY: The towns of Rural Retreat and Wytheville are holding elections for town council.
Rural Retreat: Three seats on town council
Wytheville: Two seats on town council