By Leonard E. Colvin
New Journal and Guide
Leaders of the two major political parties in Virginia,ncampaign operatives for rival campaigns for various offices and state election officials are expecting a busy and hopefully tension-free election day on November 8. Election officials around the nation are seeing a steady and heavy flow of people voting early in person where it is allowed and by absentee, the only option Virginians have to casting their ballot early.
Nationally over 10 million-plus early votes have been cast, with various reporting indicating Democrats and Republicans are tied at 41 percent. In Virginia, days before the November 8 election, there are no tensions between the two parties and advocates about issues related to voter identification laws or other efforts by Republicans to lower Black and Hispanic voter participation, as in nearby North Carolina and other states.
Nevertheless, voters are encouraged to call their local Office of Elections to make sure their precinct has not been changed since the last General Election. Also, if you have not voted since the last Presidential election and have moved but not alerted the registrar of our move, you should also check to make sure your name has not been purged from local voting rolls. Along with the Democratic and Republican party entrants, the Libertarian, Green and Independent party tickets will be on the state ballot.
Races: 2nd, 3rd, 4th Congressional Districts
Residents of Norfolk and Virginia Beach will be voting for the Second Congressional District candidates; Democrat Shaun Brown or Republican Scott Taylor. Brown has been endorsed by the Virginia Beach Political Action Committee. Residents of Franklin, Norfolk, Portsmouth and parts of Chesapeake will vote for Third Congressional District race incumbent Democrat Robert Scott or his Republican challenger, Marty Williams. Voters in parts of Chesapeake and Suffolk will vote for the newly reconfigured Fourth Congressional District where Democratic State Senator Donald McEachin of Henrico County and Republican Michael L. Wade are competing.
Races: Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia Senate Races
Voters in Chesapeake and Norfolk will vote in a special election to fill the Virginia Fifth District Senate seat formerly held by now Norfolk Mayor Kenneth C. Alexander. Delegate Lionell Spruill of Chesapeake is running unopposed for that seat. Former Chesapeake Councilman Cliff Hayes is running unopposed as a Democrat for the 77th House Delegate seat Spruill is giving up. Portsmouth and Virginia Beach shifted their mayor and council elections to November to generate a larger voter turnout.
Races: Portsmouth Council, School Board
In Portsmouth, incumbent Mayor Kenneth Wright is seeking another term. He has five challengers: Shannon Glover, H. Cliff Page, Jr., Barry R. Randall, John L. Rowe and James M. Sturdevant.
Portsmouth voters will select three members of city council from the 10 candidates who are running: incumbent Vice Mayor Elizabeth Psimas, James C. Bailey, Paul J. Battle, Leon J. Boone, Nathan J. Clark, Mark A. Geduldig-Yatrofsky, Lisa L. Lucas-Burke, S.C. Revell and Ray A. Smith.
There are five seats open on the Portsmouth school board. Three current members have decided not to seek another term. But running along with the current Vice Chair Costella B. Williams, are incumbents Sarah Duncan Hinds, B. Keith Nance. Sr., and Ted J. Lamb against challengers JoaAnn T. Clarke, Angelia N. Allen, LaKeesha S. Atkinson and De’Andre A. Barnes.
Races: Virginia Beach Council, School Board
The African-American Political Action Council, a non-partisan council of members of the Virginia Beach African-American grass-roots community for over 10 years, recently issued its Gold Ballot endorsements urging city voters to select the following candidates: Will Sessoms, Shaun Brown, Dr. Amelia Ross Hammond, Shannon Kane, Rosemary Wilson, Beverley Anderson, Frances Knight-Thompson, and Trenace Riggs.
It offered no endorsement in the Rose Hall ward. Other mayoral candidates on the ballot are George Furman II, Richard W. Kowalewitch and A.M. Weeks. Four seats are open among city council members, including the lone African-American on the city’s governing panel, Dr. Amelia N. Ross-Hammond. Four school board seats are being contested in the at-large Centerville Kempsville and Rose Hall Districts. The AAPAC also urged Beach residents to vote “yes” on the referendum reading: “Should City Council of Virginia Beach spend local funds to extend Light Rail from Norfolk to Town Center.”
Two State Votes For All Residents
There are two proposed changes to the Virginia Constitution that all residents will vote “yes or no” on. The first relates to employers and labor unions. The second relates to taxation of real property of the surviving spouse of any public officer killed in the line of duty and the spouse lives in the house and has not remarried.
Be Prepared: Voter ID Is Mandatory
Virginia law requires all voters to provide an acceptable form of photo identification when voting in person. All of the acceptable forms of photo ID can be used up to a year after the ID has expired. These photo IDs include valid Virginia Driver’s License or Identification Card, Valid Virginia DMV, Veteran’s ID Card and Valid U.S. Passport. Any other government-issued photo identification cards must be issued by the U.S. Government, the Commonwealth of Virginia, or a political subdivision of the Commonwealth.
Also allowed are Tribal IDs issued by one of 11 tribes recognized by Virginia; valid college or university student photo identification card for a school in Virginia or public school or private school in Virginia displaying a photo; and an employee identification card with photograph. If you do not have one of the acceptable forms of photo I.D. listed above, contact a local voter registration office for a free photo identification card, which can be used for voting purposes only.
Voters without acceptable photo identification may be offered a Provisional Ballot to vote. In order for the ballot to be counted, the voter is required to submit a copy of an approved form of photo identification to the local Electoral Board by noon on Friday following Election Day.