This week’s newsletter discusses expanded opportunities for early voting, shares information about tax rebate checks coming to Virginians, shares information about this weekend’s canvass launches, discusses National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, and provides highlights from selected community events of this past week. Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter and for staying informed.
Expanded Voting Opportunities: Saturday Early Voting Begins Tomorrow
Saturday marks the start of weekend early voting for the November General Elections. Through the efforts of Virginia’s Democrats in the Senate and the House of Delegates, and under the leadership of Governor Northam, Virginia expanded access to the ballot through no-excuse absentee voting, Saturday early voting, and designating Election Day as a state holiday. 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), Monday through Friday, from 8:30am until 5:00pm, now until November 3. Saturday voting is available on Saturday, October 28, and Saturday, November 4, from 8:30am until 5:00pm.
Additional satellite locations are also now open. All early voting, in-person library satellite sites are open from 10:00am until 7:00pm, Monday through Friday through Friday, November 3. On Saturday, October 28, and 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 Monday through Friday, from 9:00am until 4:00pm, now through November 3. Saturday voting is also now available on Saturday, October 28, and Saturday, 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), Monday through Friday, from 9:00am until 5:00pm, now through November 3. Saturday voting is also now available on Saturday, October 28, and Saturday, 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 Tuesday, November 7. Polls are open from 6:00am until 7:00pm. Election Day polling locations can be confirmed at the Virginia Department of Elections website.
The deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot is today, Friday, October 27. Requests must be received by the local voter registration office by 5:00pm. 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.
Rebate Checks Are Coming
The Virginia Department of Taxation will begin mailing one-time tax rebates to Virginians as early as this week. Taxpayers most likely to be eligible for the rebates are those with a 2022 tax liability or those who filed their 2022 taxes by November 1, 2023. Individual filers may be eligible for up to $200, and joint filers up to $400. Taxpayers can check eligibility using the rebate lookup tool and see a breakdown of possible scenarios through the Department's website. Taxpayers will either receive their rebate through direct deposit or by mail.
This tax rebate is part of a broader push by state Democrats through budget negotiations to bring direct relief to communities across the Commonwealth instead of giving massive tax breaks for corporations. This relief is timely as economic pressures continue to squeeze pocketbooks and as families begin to prepare for the holidays.
This Weekend’s Canvass Launches
With less than two weeks until Virginia’s Election Day, campaigns are knocking on doors, calling voters, and getting people to the polls. This Saturday, we invite volunteers to join us for a canvass kickoff at the Hickory Hill Community Center (3000 East Belt Boulevard, Richmond). For Richmond residents, there is an added bonus: Hickory Hill is a voting location, and volunteers can cast their ballots before heading out to talk to voters at their doors. Training and snacks provided! Register for the Hickory Hill canvass.
On Sunday, my campaign will be joined by members of Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia (DAAV), South Asians for America (SAFA), Virginia Young Democrats (VAYD), and the Congressional District 4 Committee for a canvass launch in Chesterfield County. We welcome volunteers to join us for this exciting opportunity to engage voters. Training and snacks provided yet again! Register for the Chesterfield canvass.
Medication Take Back Events
Saturday, October 28, is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This effort seeks to reduce the number of expired, unused, or unwanted medications available to individuals who may misuse or abuse prescribed medicines. Individuals dropping off prescription drugs should leave the medications in the original packaging but remove or mark out any identifiable information such as names, prescribing doctors, and addresses. Needles and syringes are not accepted. The locations of collection sites are available at the online tool provided by the United States Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration.
Highlights from Community Events & Meetings
On Friday evening, I joined members of the Psychiatric Society of Virginia at the Annual Fall Meeting reception. Speaking with providers who are at the forefront of our mental health crisis, I heard the critical concerns around staffing shortages, too few residency spots, workplace safety, shortages in beds and mental health facilities, and much more. During this upcoming session, I will continue to work with colleagues on potential legislation and budget items to expand critical access to mental health services.
Saturday proved to be another busy day, as the countdown to Election Day nears closer. In the morning, I joined members of SEIU Virginia 512 and 32BJ for a rally highlighting the importance of this Fall’s elections. This rally brought together other organizations focused on expanding workers’ rights, fighting for fair wages, and highlighting the essential work provided by so many Virginians; SEIU members were joined by Care in Action, Richmond City Workers, IBEW, New Virginia Majority, and Communications Workers of America. This November’s elections will send a message that Virginia is for Unions and that we care about our people.
On Sunday afternoon, I joined members of the Richmond City Democratic Committee (RCDC) at PrideFest. We spoke with voters from across RVA about their priorities. The LGBTQ+ communities in Virginia continue to be attacked by legislative efforts to roll back rights and limit public presence. Although marriage equality has passed at the federal level, we now have a US Supreme Court with some justices ready to reverse the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals to marry. Protecting marriage equality at the state level in Virginia continues to be a challenge as GOP members have defeated efforts during these past few Sessions.
On Monday, I traveled to Chantilly, Virginia, to participate on the Virginia Library Association’s panel Right to Read in School and Local Public Libraries with Delegate Karrie Delaney. We discussed recent legislation that sought to ban and/or censor books and other materials in our libraries, free speech and academic freedom concerns, efforts to intimidate book publishers and vendors, and the legislation that has now opened the door for broad censorship and removal of books in certain localities. As subject matter experts with degrees in the library sciences, our public, school, and research librarians are invaluable voices in our efforts to defeat legislative efforts that harm the essential public good provided by our libraries.
On Tuesday afternoon, I joined a classroom of George Mason University students for a conversation on current education policy in Virginia. This particular class examines the policy and budget concerns of public education at all levels of government. The students asked a variety of engaging questions, and I was pleased to learn more from them about their own passions and interests in working in the profession. Attracting bright and talented students into the field of education must be a top priority for us in Virginia in this decade.
On Wednesday morning, I shadowed the Conexus Vision team as they worked with kindergarteners at Chalkley Elementary School in Chesterfield County. In partnership with Chesterfield County Schools, Conexus Vision serves schools throughout the Commonwealth and has a strong presence in the Central Virginia area. By law, school-based vision screenings are required for students in kindergarten, 2nd or 3rd, 7th, and 10th grades and for all new students. Poor vision and undetected ocular health concerns impact student academic performance. The new technologies used by Conexus Vision are remarkably fast, require no direct contact with the students as they are being screened, and are delivered within the children’s classrooms. Observing the process helped me understand the ease and convenience of the screening process. Thank you to Principal Guillermo Gonzalez for the warm welcome and to Conexus CEO Tim Gresham for the opportunity to learn more about the program.
On Thursday evening, I joined Richmond City Council President and House of Delegates Candidate Michael Jones for a Farm to Table Dinner at the Sankofa Community Orchard. We enjoyed an incredible and meticulously-prepared vegan meal, a tour of the amazing community garden, and engaged in discussions about our climate crisis, the urgency of threats to the environment and human life, and the concerns about rising temperatures and food scarcity. I appreciated the many perspectives shared by the other guests and certainly thank Councilman Jones for the introduction to Sankofa and its remarkable presence in the community.
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