RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Voters in Virginia could possibly shift the balance of power in the state legislature as all 140 seats in the General Assembly are on the ballot for the Nov. 5 elections.
Virginia’s “off-off-year” elections, when there are no statewide or presidential races on the ballot, has captured the attention of many from across the nation. Prominent figures in politics — and even television — have campaigned for candidates or announced their intention to in Virginia.
What hangs in the balance?
Republicans hold a 21-19 majority in the Senate and a 51-48 majority in the House of Delegates with a vacancy in each chamber. Voters could possibly give Virginia Democrats the majority in the state legislature for the first time in more than 20 years.
Democrats have not controlled both chambers at the same time since 1995 and there hasn’t been a Democratic governor with a Democratic majority in the General Assembly since 1994.
This possibility seems attainable for Democrats, especially after multiple House districts were redrawn.
Why were the maps redrawn?
In 2011, a map was drawn by Republican lawmakers using the census from 2010. Democratic voters accused those lawmakers of racial gerrymandering, meaning the districts were drawn in a way that separated voters by race, and decided to sue. It was ruled that 11 House districts were drawn in this way and a new map was ordered.
The case was eventually taken to the U.S. Supreme Court and in June the high court’s 5-4 decision favored the new map. According to the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), an estimated 425,000 voters were shuffled into new districts.
One of the districts impacted, the 66th District, has put a longtime Republican in a tight race.
- Other candidate profiles for the 66th District: Democrat Sheila Bynum-Coleman and Independent Linnard Harris.
What do I need to vote?
All registered voters in Virginia must have an acceptable form of photo ID before heading to the polls on Nov. 5. If you don’t have an ID with you, a provisional ballot will be given to you but you must provide a photo ID later for your vote to count.
Who’s on my ballot?
CLICK HERE for a look at the candidates running in each race across Central Virginia (click on their names to read more information on each candidate.
If you want to see who you’re voting for or what district you’re in, click here and type in your address.
Stay with 8News for all your 2019 General Assembly election coverage.