Virginia’s political landscape has seen significant shifts in recent years, but this coming Tuesday, Nov. 7, Virginians will vote to prevent or support the biggest shift yet. With the recent election of Governor Glenn Youngkin, there are serious implications for Virginia residents, particularly women and transgender persons, on issues like abortion, trans rights, and gun control. This election day, it is essential to understand what your vote means for the state.
For those who have also forgotten everything they learned in fourth grade social studies and eighth grade civics, here is a short reminder. The Virginia Assembly consists of two chambers: the House of Delegates and the Senate of Virginia. The House of Delegates comprises 100 members who are elected from different districts across the state and serve two-year terms. The Senate of Virginia is the upper chamber of the General Assembly and consists of 40 members who serve four-year terms, with staggered elections. Currently, there is a Democrat majority in the Senate and a Republican majority in the House.
Changing pace, in 2021, Republican Glenn Youngkin was elected as the Governor of Virginia. Youngkin’s victory over Democrat Terry McAuliffe marked a notable change in leadership for the state, as he succeeded Democrat Ralph Northam. Governor Youngkin campaigned on a platform that included various policies that aligned with conservative principles. Some of the key issues that Youngkin has focused on include education reform and lower taxes, but also more restrictive policies on abortion and gun control.
What This Election Means for Virginia Voters
Youngkin’s election and the resulting Republican control in Virginia have the potential to impact the direction of the state’s policies. With Republicans in control of both the executive branch (the governorship) and the legislative branch (the Virginia Assembly), it becomes easier for conservative policies to be passed.
One of the significant factors that make Virginia’s political landscape interesting is the diversity of the state. The Hampton Roads region is home to a sizable portion of the state’s population. Additionally, Virginia’s presidential election results were closely contested in 2020, indicating the state’s political polarization.
The outcome of the 2021 election has significant implications for Virginia voters, especially women and those concerned about issues like abortion and gun control. Youngkin’s policies on abortion, for example, include support for restrictions that may limit access to reproductive healthcare services. On gun control, he has advocated for a more relaxed approach, which could impact gun laws and safety measures in the state. Stricter abortion regulations could affect access to reproductive healthcare for women, while changes to gun control laws may influence public safety and individual rights. It is essential for Virginians to stay informed about these policies and their potential consequences.
How to Vote
With the 2023 election fast approaching, it is crucial for Virginians to exercise their right to vote. Here are some steps to ensure your voice is heard:
1. Check Your Registration: Ensure you are registered to vote and that your information is up to date.
2. Know Who You’re Voting For: Research the candidates and their positions on prominent issues to make an informed decision.
3. Find Your Assigned Voting Center: Determine your designated polling place to cast your vote. You can check online, or it may also have been sent via mail.
4. Save the Date: Mark your calendar for the election day, Nov. 7, 2023, to make sure you do not miss your opportunity to vote. Don’t forget your ID!
Our future is in our hands. Whether you do it for the free sticker or our greater good – go practice your civic duty and VOTE.