Get ready for the upcoming November General Election in Fairfax County, where all 140 seats in the Virginia General Assembly are up for grabs. Along with Senate and House seats, 12 other local offices are on the ballot, including Clerk of Court, Commonwealth’s Attorney, Sheriff, Chairman of Board of Supervisors, District Supervisor, School Board Members At-Large, District School Board Member, and Soil and Water Board Members. As you know, Virginia holds elections every year, but this year is extra special: it is what we call an “off-off-year” election. Virginia is one of just five states in the entire nation that conducts off-year elections, meaning an election when no federal offices are on the ballot. Virginia takes it a step further with “off-off-years”, when there are also no major statewide offices such as Governor or Attorney General on the ballot.
Early voting begins this Friday, Sept. 22. Here in the new 16th House District, we are fortunate to have an in-person early voting location so accessible to us at the Mount Vernon Governmental Center on Parkers Lane. Before you head out to vote, make sure your voter registration is current and accurate, and remember to bring an acceptable ID. For a full list of accepted identification methods, you can visit https://www.elections.virginia.gov/registration/voterid/.
The voter registration deadline is Monday, Oct. 16, but you can still register up to and including Election Day and cast a provisional ballot. If you prefer to vote by mail, request a ballot by Oct. 27 at 5 p.m., and postmark it by Election Day. Those who have already applied for a mail ballot can expect to begin receiving them on Sept. 22.
Voting early offers flexibility and reduces Election Day wait times for all. And, with a bill I passed in 2019, if you arrive at an early polling location and are still in line at closing time, you can remain in line and cast your ballot. In total, voters now have 45 days before Election Day to cast their ballots.
This election is crucial, as it impacts various critical issues that affect the daily lives of Virginians. With a one-seat majority in the Virginia Senate, Democrats defended abortion rights, gun safety laws, public education, LGBTQ+ protections, clean energy standards, and more. On the flip side, extremists have pushed inaccurate history teaching, favored wealthy corporate tax cuts, and worked against democracy.
Let me emphasize that each and every vote counts. Several of this year’s June primary election races were decided by just a handful of votes. For example, the Republican candidate in SD-29 in Prince William County won his primary race by only 2 votes. And, in 2017, a key House of Delegates race ended in a dead tie and was decided by pulling a winner’s name out of a fishbowl! In many of these local races, and especially with so many new candidates running for office, you have the opportunity to be a deciding vote. This is even more so the case in an off-off year election, where turnout is lower than in a Presidential or Gubernatorial election year. Do not sit this one out!
If you are interested in volunteering your time, there are a plethora of opportunities to assist in this year’s elections, including becoming a poll worker with the Fairfax Office of Elections, participating in voter registration drives, assisting a candidate of your choice with door knocking or phone banking, attending or hosting events, and finally assisting at the polls on Election Day.
Virginia sets the example. We are the bellwether for the nation. So, let's send a message this November that divisive policies won't work for Virginians or the nation. Vote for your Democratic Party candidates.