This week’s newsletter discusses what is at stake this election, shares information on voting early and voting on Election Day, and highlights select community engagements and events from this past week. Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter and for staying informed.
Why this Election Matters
Virginia is one of the few states holding elections this year, and no other state’s races are as consequential. All 140 seats of the General Assembly – 100 House of Delegates seats and 40 Senate seats – are up for election.
At present, Democrats hold the Senate, with a 22 to 18 seat majority; Democrats gained that 22nd seat during this past January’s special election when Aaron Rouse succeeded in flipping the district previously represented by former state Senator Jen Kiggans. Republicans hold the House, currently with a 49 to 46 majority (these numbers reflect the fact that some House members recently retired or vacated their current seats to run in new districts). Because of these close margins, this year has seen several hard-fought races; competitive new districts, a wave of retirements, and the crucial issues at stake have made 2023 a pivotal and historic year for Virginia’s politics.
Why does it matter which political party controls each Chamber? The party in power controls the path of legislation in that Chamber. The majority party and its leadership determines Committee assignments and Committee Chairs. The majority party determines which bills are docketed and heard. Each Chamber’s leadership establishes the legislative and budgetary priorities of the session. Ultimately, the majority party ensures the success or the defeat of legislation.
We have critical issues at stake in Virginia: abortion access, public education, environmental and climate change, housing, health care, mental health, gun safety, voting rights, and much more. Governor Glenn Youngkin is committed to banning safe and legal abortion in Virginia; during this election cycle, he has invested heavily in Republican candidates who have publicly expressed support for abortion bans at “point of conception.” With the introduction of several Youngkin administration “school choice” bills last Session, we saw a concerted effort to create a two-tier education system that would further damage under-resourced school districts and send public dollars into the hands of private entities. Youngkin has made a concerted effort to pull Virginia out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a move that is being challenged now in court. These are the concerns, among many, that are at stake in this election.
With so many competitive districts in play, November 7 will determine which party holds the majority in the House and in the Senate. November 7 will also determine the fate of Virginia and Virginians in the next two and very consequential years. So much is at stake.
Voting Information: Early Voting and Election Day
Today and tomorrow are the last days of early in-person voting before Election Day on November 7. For residents of the current Senate District 10 (Richmond City, Chesterfield County, and Powhatan County), more details are available below:
Early Voting Locations: Chesterfield County
Early in-person voting is available at the Chesterfield County Registrar’s Office (9848 Lori Road, Chesterfield) today, November 3, from 8:30am until 5:00pm. Saturday voting is available tomorrow, November 4, from 8:30am until 5:00pm.
Additional satellite locations are also open today for early voting from 10:00am until 7:00pm. Tomorrow, Saturday, November 4, satellite locations are open from 8:30am until 5:00pm. Residents registered to vote in Chesterfield County may vote at any of the following locations during the early voting period:
Early Voting Locations: City of Richmond
Early in-person voting is available for City of Richmond residents at the following locations:
Early, in-person voting is available today, November 3, from 9:00am until 4:00pm. Saturday voting is also available tomorrow, November 4, from 9:00am until 5:00pm. Residents registered to vote in the City of Richmond may vote at any of the listed locations during the early voting period.
Early Voting Locations: Powhatan County
Early in-person voting is available for Powhatan County residents at the Powhatan County Office of Elections and Voter Registration (3910 Old Buckingham Road, Powhatan), today, from 9:00am until 5:00pm. Saturday voting is also now available tomorrow, November 4, from 9:00am until 5:00pm.
Voting on Election Day
For those voters who do not cast early or mail-in ballots, Election Day is this coming Tuesday, November 7:
Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by November 7 and received by November 13 at 12:00pm.
Individuals who requested an absentee ballot but now prefer to vote in-person must bring the absentee ballot to the polling location to be voided. More information on absentee ballots and voting is available at the Virginia Department of Elections.
Highlights from Community Events & Meetings
On Friday afternoon, my Chief of Staff participated in a panel discussion focused on immunization advocacy at the state and federal levels during ImmunizeVA’s Annual Meeting. At a time when vaccine disinformation and distrust are on the rise, organizations such as ImmunizeVA are seeking ways to advocate for positive immunization policies at the state and federal level, while warning against the dangers of relaxing immunization requirements.
This past weekend saw the first day of Saturday voting across Virginia. I spent a large part of the day at the Hickory Hill Community Center, and we also held a canvass launch from the location. I am thankful especially to my good friend John who traveled from the Maryland/DC area to join us. The energy at Hickory Hill was high, with hundreds of voters stopping by to cast their ballots. Tomorrow, November 4, is the last day of early voting before Election Day. Voters who do not cast their early ballots by this Saturday will need to vote on Election Day itself.
On Saturday evening, I attended Boost Mobile’s Trunk or Treat event in Chester and was joined by Debra Gardner, candidate for the House of Delegates in District 76. This event was a welcome break from door knocking, as temperatures rose high on Saturday!
Sunday was another warm but beautiful day, perfect for knocking on doors and speaking with constituents. I am full of gratitude to the members of the Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia (DAAV) and South Asians for America (SAFA) who traveled from Northern Virginia to knock on doors in Senate District 15. One of our SAFA leaders came all the way from California to help elect Virginia Democrats.
On Monday, I participated in a legislative panel with Delegate Carrie Coyner at the Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS) Fall Conference. Across the state, school districts are turning to the legislature to address significant funding shortfalls as outlined in the JLARC K-12 Funding Formula Report, as well as workforce development issues, student mental health, and school safety. I look forward to continuing strong partnerships with organizations such as VASS so these issues can be addressed during the 2024 session.
On Tuesday evening, my office joined community organizations from across the Metro Richmond Area for a Trunk-or-Treat event hosted by the Richmond Sheriff’s Office. It was wonderful to connect with Sheriff Irving’s team, as well as hundreds of RVA families. The creativity on display with the decorated trunks was amazing.
Connecting With My Office