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November 2019

Virginia Estelle Whitehead Grizzard

May 14-1937-November 10, 2019

Visitation Services

12 Noon Wednesday November 13, 2019

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Road

Jarratt, Virginia

2 PM Wednesday November 13, 2019

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Road
Jarratt, Virginia

Virginia Estelle Whitehead Grizzard, 82, widow of Maurice Lee Grizzard Sr., passed away Sunday, November 10, 2019.  She was preceded in death by her parents Vernon James Whitehead Sr. And Nellie Winborne Whitehead and a brother Charles Harley Whitehead. Virginia is survived by her children Maurice Lee Grizzard Jr. (Dixie) of Middlesex, NC, Carolyn G. Salter (Derril) of Shannon, NC, Danny Ray Grizzard (Paula) of Emporia, and Patti G. O’Donnell (Timmy) of Graham, NC. She is also survived by 11 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren, one great great granddaughter, a brother, Vernon James Whitehead Jr. and a number of nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday November 13, 2019 at 2PM at Owen Funeral Home 303 S. Halifax Rd Jarratt, VA where the family will receive friends 12-2 PM prior to the service. Interment will follow at Greensville Memorial Cemetery. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

GOVA Region 3 Accepting Requests for Qualifications for Broadband Deployment Strategy

GO Virginia Region 3 is accepting Requests for Qualifications from organizations to assess and develop a regional strategy for broadband deployment in the Region 3 footprint, that includes an assessment of incumbent providers and existing on-site broadband coverage. 

The Council is seeking Requests for Qualifications that demonstrate the responders’ ability to develop a regional broadband strategy that provides a framework for the Council which can be used to guide its investment decisions. 

The strategy will include the following.  The deliverable would be completed by May 30, 2020:

 1.    An assessment of existing current broadband deployment plans and strategies at the local and sub-region level;
2.    An assessment of which incumbent providers currently actively provide broadband service in Region 3 (including specific service territories).
3.    An assessment of and recommendations to leverage electric utilities in Region 3 including Dominion Power, AEP, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, Southside Electric Cooperative.
4.    Recommendations for optimizing the ongoing efforts to result in ubiquitous broadband coverage within 5 years in Region 3, prioritizing areas that are development sites, existing employers, commercial centers, and public and community venues.

Interested responders should submit a Statement of Qualifications that is no more than 5 pages and that addresses the responder’s ability to develop a strategy document that includes the deliverables noted above. Interested parties should feel free to contact Liz Povar at riverlinkllc@gmail.com or 804-399-8297 with questions.

For more information, go to: https://govirginia3.org/request-for-letters-of-interest-3/

Statements of Qualifications must be received by 5:00PM EST Friday, December 6.

Virginia State Police fatal Brunswick County

Virginia State Police was called to the 3500 block of Robinson Ferry Road in Brunswick County on November 9, to investigate a single vehicle, single occupant fatal accident. 

Preliminary investigations reveal, at approximately 7:39 p.m., Mr. Steven Blythe was driving a 2003 Honda Accord  when he ran off the roadway into the southbound lanes of Robinson Ferry Road. The vehicle then struck several mailboxes and a tree. Mr. Steven Ray Blythe, 30 YOA, of the 11500 block of Robinson Ferry Road, Broadnax, Virginia, died upon impact.

Mr. Blythe was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident, and it is unknown at this time if alcohol was a contributing factor in the accident. Notification to next of kin has been made.

Rebecca T. Delbridge

October 19, 1945 - November 08, 2019

Visitation Services

6-8 p.m. Saturday, November 9

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Road
Jarratt, Virginia

2 p.m. Sunday, November 10

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Road

Jarratt, Virginia

Rebecca T. Delbridge, 74, of Emporia, passed away Friday, November 8, 2019. She was preceded in death by a sister, Betty Sue Bryant and a brother, Elmer Thompson.

Mrs. Delbridge is survived by her husband, Albert Lee Delbridge, Jr.; daughter, Susan Conwell (Tony); two sons, Albert Gene Delbridge (Terri) and William L. Delbridge (Laurie); grandchildren, Casey Vaughn (Chris), Nic Conwell (Stephanie), Lauren Delbridge, Sydney Delbridge and William C. Delbridge; step-grandson, Luke Evans; four great-grandchildren; sister, Clara Gillette; brother, Dana Thompson (Gina) and a number of nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Saturday, November 9 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia where the funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Sunday, November 10. Interment will follow at Capron Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Zion Baptist Church, c/o Melissa Bullock, 2755 Rolling Acres Rd., Emporia, Virginia 23847.

Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

Earl C. “Billy” Bennett

December 9, 1931-November 5, 2109

Visitation Services

6-8 p.m. Friday Nov 8

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Road
Jarratt, Virginia

11 a.m. Saturday, November 9

Owen Funeral Home
303 S. Halifax Road

Jarratt, Virginia

Earl C. “Billy” Bennett, 84, of Emporia, passed away, Tuesday, November 5, 2019. He was preceded in death by a sister, Alice Long and a brother, James Lee Bennett. Mr. Bennett is survived by his wife, Jean M. Bennett; daughter, Denna B. Glover (Brian); son, Douglas Earl Bennett (Wanda); grandchildren, Kristin Quarles (Ronnie), Logan Glover and Madison Glover; great-grandchildren, Akaela, Braelen and Braxon; two brothers, Robert Bennett (Rose) and Tommy Bennett (Lee); sister, Thelma Wells; faithful and devoted brother-in-law, Hersheal Mitchell (Cathy) and special friends, Tammy Jackson and Don Tudor. The family will receive friends 6-8 p.m. Friday Nov 8 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd., Jarratt, Virginia where the funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, November 9. Interment will follow at Greensville Memorial Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Central Life Saving and Rescue Squad, 5736 Gasburg Rd, Gasburg, Virginia 23857. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

WARNER URGES SENATE TO SWIFTLY RENEW FUNDING FOR VIRGINIA HBCUs

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Congressional Bipartisan Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Caucus, joined Senate colleagues and leaders from HBCUs – including a student from Virginia Union University in Richmond – in calling on the Senate to pass the bipartisan FUTURE Act, which would restore $255 million in federal funding for HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) that expired on September 30. While the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the FUTURE Act in September, Senate Republicans have blocked this critical legislation from coming to the Senate floor for a vote.

Virginia is home to Virginia Union University, Norfolk State University, Virginia State University, Hampton University, and Virginia University of Lynchburg – all of which stand to lose funding if the Senate fails to act.

“In Virginia, we’re talking about nearly $4 million in funding last year that is at risk unless we pass the FUTURE Act,” said Sen. Warner during today’s press conference. “This is an investment in our students. It’s an investment in the middle class. And it’s time for the federal government to live up its commitment.”

Sen. Warner was also joined today by Jalynn Hodges, a biology major currently serving as the first-ever elected student representative for the Board of Trustees at Virginia Union University (VUU), who underscored how renewing this funding would enable the Virginia Union community to continue to support students who pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

“When I arrived at my prestigious HBCU in fall of 2017, I entered the gateway into my future. During my first year, I conducted research in our neuroscience and chemistry laboratory where I learned technical and analytical skills that are essential to my long-term academic and professional goals,” said Jalynn Hodges, biology major at VUU.  “With continued mandatory funding, students and faculty will be afforded access to ever changing equipment and laboratories that are consistent with industry standards. It is because of VUU that I am a better version of myself - one who is confident and assured that resources that have been afforded to me have prepared me for my graduate studies in medicine.”

Earlier this week, Sen. Warner joined more than three dozen Senators in a letter to Senate leaders calling for passage of the bipartisan FUTURE Act legislation to renew this vital funding for Virginia’s HBCUs.

“As Virginia’s most affordable 4-year public university, Norfolk State provides access to a quality higher education in a culturally diverse and supportive learning environment. Failure to restore Title III Part F mandatory funding for HBCUs will represent more than a $5.8 million loss for NSU. Without this funding, Norfolk State’s educational programs in both teacher preparation and the STEM fields will be put at risk at a time when we are working to increase diversity in the front of our classrooms, and grow the pipeline of diverse STEM graduates to fill the jobs of the new economy. Norfolk State University expresses appreciation to Senators Warner and Kaine for their leadership on this critical issue, and urges all Senators to join them in securing the future of America’s HBCUs and the students they serve by passing the FUTURE Act,” said Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, President of Norfolk State University.

“Failure to pass the FUTURE Act will have serious consequences for America’s HBCUs, their students, and my peers. Norfolk State University’s supportive and culturally aware learning environment has helped me to grow as a leader and put me on the path to success. I would likely not have had these opportunities at other schools. All students regardless of their socio-economic background deserve access to a quality higher education and the opportunity to realize their full potential. It is time for Congress to stand with the students of America’s HBCUs by voting to pass the FUTURE Act,” said Linei Woodson, President of Norfolk State University’s Student Government Association.  

In the mid-1990s, as a successful tech entrepreneur, Warner – who is also a former member of the Board of Trustees at Virginia Union – helped to create the Virginia High-Tech Partnership (VHTP) to connect students attending Virginia’s five HBCUs with internship opportunities in tech firms across the Commonwealth.

A Message about Improving Service from Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security

“Thank you for your interest in the Social Security Administration and for reading this Open Letter to the Public to learn more about what we are doing to improve service.

A Little about Me:

I have been frequently asked why, at age 73 with a loving wife of 51 years, a beautiful family, and a successful business career, I would want to take on the responsibility and stress of running a huge government organization that affects nearly every American.  My answer is simple.  I took the job as Commissioner of Social Security because I saw that this very important agency faced an increasing number of challenges.  Millions of Americans depend on SSA to do our job well, each day, no excuses—because when we don’t, people suffer.  I took the job because SSA must dramatically improve customer service for you, your loved ones, and everyone who depends on our programs.

What is My Plan?

When I speak to groups of SSA employees, to my senior managers, and to external groups including Congress, they ask what I plan to accomplish.  It is no secret that the government is full of bureaucratic processes.  There are Agency Strategic Plans, Annual Performance Plans, Budget documents for this and future years, IT strategic plans, and any number of internal organization planning documents.  I understand that these writings serve to provide direction and transparency, but I doubt most employees or members of the public read them.  I am hopeful that this letter will answer your questions in a straightforward and easy to follow way. 

My plan is rooted in common sense.  SSA has many departments and over 60,000 employees who perform millions of functions each year.  But, whether it is issuing retirement checks, processing disability claims, or providing Social Security cards, our fundamental mission is to ensure timely and accurate service for the public.  My plan is to emphasize and restore fundamental public service so that when you call us, we answer timely.  When you come to our offices, we serve you timely.  When you apply for benefits, you receive a timely answer from us and, if you are approved for benefits, you receive a timely check from us.  Some SSA employees and the three unions who represent them may suggest we simply want to push employees even harder.  I’ve run enough businesses and organizations to know that no employer gets 100% from every employee every day—there is always room to improve.  Over the past 5 months, I have met with and observed many, many SSA employees.  Let me tell you what I determined:  they care.  They are just as concerned and stressed about work piling up as I am.  They dread the feeling of coming into work knowing the public will line up and wait far too long for correct answers.  That is demoralizing.  I don’t want our excellent employees to feel beaten down or think that headquarters fails to appreciate their challenges.  By getting wait times down, we allow our employees to do their work in a better environment where they can focus on the action in front of them not the piles of work around them.

As important as it is to serve you timely, we need to serve you well.  We need to evaluate how we train our employees, review their work and give feedback, and appropriately simplify our policies to be easier to implement and understand.  I have reviewed audits and noted that we consistently receive poor marks in certain areas.  You should expect that we will properly pay benefits to only the folks who are entitled to them and we should always pay them the correct amount.  That is important not only for stewardship but also to each of you who receives a check from us.  I also cannot ignore the message from significant workloads like litigation, which can occur when we do not properly apply policy.  Yes, we must address the affected cases but we must also fix the root cause.  Getting things wrong has been very costly to us.  It is time to invest in ensuring we get things right.

Part of the answer is technology.  However, before we can readily implement more efficient systems, we have to fix some core issues.  Did you know we store a beneficiary’s address in something close to 20 different systems?  If you move, we can change your address in one place but that may not change it in the others.  We are working to fix this and other problems.  Our new approach will not look at our services from our vantage point, such as using a specific system to complete a singular action we are working on in the moment.  We will look at our work from your perspective.  Meaning, if you go online and then call us and then come in to an SSA office, our employees will know that history and you don’t have to start from square one each time.

However, technology alone is not the solution.  Sure, many people like the idea of going online for convenient service and we need to modernize and meet that need.  But, many other people need a little extra help, a little more information, maybe even some reassurance from an expert.  Thus, we need a responsive workforce.  We already have people who care deeply about our mission and the public.  Now we need to have enough folks to meet the demand so that they can spend the time they need to handle each customer’s need correctly.  We need to implement additional quality checks so that we can let our employees know when they misapplied a policy or missed a key issue.  Our employees want this feedback.  We need to give our employees what they need to get you the right result.

We need to assess how we do our work, how we use technology, and how we empower our employees at SSA.  All of those things are complicated, but they are necessary to accomplish my plan for SSA.  What is the plan?  We are going to work every day to improve the public service you receive from us.  As I said, common sense. 

What happens next?

Right now, SSA’s Office of Systems is working with public and private sector experts to modernize our technology infrastructure so that we can serve you more efficiently and with greater accuracy.  At the same time, we are shifting resources to the front lines of our public service operation.  Our Office of Operations manages nearly all of our public facing services like the field offices in your communities and the National 800 Number.  It is logical and appropriate that we focus on these offices first.  Some people may believe that is a “hiring freeze” but I call it “smart hiring”—sending our resources to the front lines where you benefit most.  Dependent on our final appropriation for fiscal year 2020, we are targeting additional hiring in these public service offices, and I have already directed that SSA hire 1,100 more people to do this work.  During a time of more constrained resources, the agency closed field offices early on Wednesdays.  We are ending that practice to provide you with additional access to our services.  We are also ending a telework pilot, which was implemented without necessary controls or data collection to evaluate effectiveness or impact on public service.  I support work-life balance for SSA employees consistent with meeting our first obligation: to serve the public.  A time of workload crisis is not the time to experiment with working at home, especially for the more than 40,000 employees who staff our public facing offices. 

Modernizing technology and getting more employees back into the offices are critical first steps. We will take additional steps to chip away at our current wait times; however, the first obvious move is an infusion of resources into key offices, increasing the availability of those offices to the public, and holding all of our employees accountable.  We know how important our work is and understand the consequences of poor service. 

You will hear from me again with straightforward information about our progress.  I appreciate your patience as we work to improve our performance in service to you.”

Virginia Government Shifts With Democrats Dominating Election Day

By Rodney Robinson, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va. -- Democrats have taken control of the Virginia General Assembly, flipping both the Senate and House blue.

“Tonight, the ground has shifted in Virginia government,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a press release late Tuesday. “The voters have spoken, and they have elected landmark Democratic majorities in both the Senate and the House of Delegates.” 

Key House Victories

Democrats grabbed six additional seats, giving them a 55-45 lead in the House.

In House District 94, Democrat Shelly Simonds defeated Republican incumbent David Yancey in a rematch from 2017. Simonds garnered 58% of the votes for the district, while Yancey earned 40%, according to unofficial election results.

In House District 76, Democratic candidate Clint Jenkins defeated Republican incumbent Chris Jones. Jenkins tallied 56% of the vote, while Jones gathered 44%. 

Democrat Martha Mugler won House District 91, an open seat previously held by Republican Gordon Helsel since 2011. Mugler garnered 55% of the vote in the district and Republican Colleen Holcomb won 45% of the vote. 

   In House District 40, Republican incumbent Tim Hugo lost to Democratic challenger Dan Helmer. Helmer accumulated 53% of the vote to Hugo’s 47%.  

In House District 28, Democrat Joshua Cole defeated Republican Paul Milde in an open seat. Cole amassed 52% of the vote, while Milde won 48%. 

Democrat Nancy Guy won House District 83, defeating Republican incumbent Chris Stolle. Guy garnered 49.95% percent of the vote, while Stolle earned 49.87%.

Key Senate Victories

In the Senate, Democrats gained two seats previously held by Republicans. They will now lead the chamber 21-19. 

In Senate District 13, Democratic candidate John Bell defeated Republican candidate Geary Higgins. Bell garnered 55% of the vote in the district, while Higgins gathered 45%.

Democratic challenger Ghazala Hashmi defeated Republican incumbent Glen Sturtevant to flip Senate District 10. It was a tight race throughout, but Hashmi garnered 54% of the vote in the District.

Though the Democrats celebrated many wins, they fell short of flipping some competitive districts. Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, fought off Democratic challenger Sheila Bynum-Coleman, despite redistricting which left House District 66 more Democratic. In a competitive race not called until well after midnight, Republican Siobhan Dunnavant maintained her seat in Senate District 12, in a tight race against Debra Rodman.

The last time Virginia Democrats controlled the House, Senate and governorship was in the mid-1990s. This trifecta could make it easier for the party to pass its agenda.

“Since I took office two years ago, we have made historic progress as a Commonwealth,” Northam said. “Tonight, Virginians made it clear they want us to continue building on that progress.”

Black Children More Likely to Live in ‘Concentrated Poverty’

By Emma Gauthier, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — African American children are more than seven times as likely as white children in Virginia to live in “concentrated poverty” — neighborhoods where at least 30% of the residents are poor, according to census data compiled by a children’s advocacy group.

Growing up in high-poverty neighborhoods is “one of the greatest risks to child development,” say officials at the nonprofit organization Voices for Virginia’s Children.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently released a report showing that 91,000 children in Virginia live in concentrated poverty. That figure includes 2% of white children in the commonwealth but 4% of Latino children and 15% of black children.

Overall, 5% of Virginia’s children live in concentrated poverty. That is below the national average of 12%. But while concentrated poverty rates have fallen in most states in recent years, Virginia hasn’t seen any improvement, the study said.

“Children deserve to grow up in neighborhoods where they have the opportunity to thrive. This report shows us that current policies in Virginia are not benefitting all children equitably, and informs where we need to focus our efforts,” said Margaret Nimmo Holland, executive director of Voices for Virginia’s Children.

“One might think a strong economy would have a positive impact on all families, but we can see from the data that is not the case. Certain groups of children and their families are disproportionately left behind, so we need to target policies that will reach these children specifically.”

According to a news release issued by Voices for Virginia’s Children, children in high-poverty neighborhoods tend to lack access to healthy food and quality medical care, and they often face greater exposure to environmental hazards, such as poor air quality and toxins such as lead. When these children grow up, they are more likely to have lower incomes than children who have moved away from communities of concentrated poverty.

The report issued by the Annie E. Casey Foundation is titled “Children Living in High Poverty, Low-Opportunity Neighborhoods.” The report is part of a project called KIDS COUNT.

Children in concentrated poverty are a subset of all children living in poverty. In connection with the report, KIDS COUNT released data on the overall poverty rates for children in each state. The data was drawn from the American Community Survey conducted annually by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In Virginia, 28% of African American children and 9% of white children live in poverty, the data showed. For children of all races, the state’s poverty rate is 14%.

Nationwide, 33% of African American children and 11% of white children live in poverty. For children of all races, the national poverty rate is 18%. The rate had been decreasing since 2014 but stalled from 2017 to 2018.

The poverty level is based on income and family size. The poverty threshold for a family of four was $24,858 in 2017, the most recent year in the KIDS COUNT data set.

The states with the highest overall child poverty rates in 2017 were Louisiana (28%) and Mississippi and New Mexico (both 27%). Then came the District of Columbia and West Virginia at 26%.

The states with the highest rates of African American children in poverty were Louisiana (47%) and Mississippi (42%). Then came Ohio at 42% and Alabama, Michigan and Nevada at 41%.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation report said it is important to tackle the problem of concentrated poverty. The problem is especially prevalent in urban areas. About 23% of children in cities live in high-poverty neighborhoods, compared with 5% of children in suburban communities.

Getting children out of concentrated poverty pays off.

“Children under age 13 who moved from low-income neighborhoods to more affluent communities had higher incomes as adults compared to peers who remained in impoverished areas,” the report stated. It urged governments to:

  • End housing discrimination against people who have been incarcerated.
  • Support subsidies and other incentives for developers to expand the number of affordable housing units.
  • Provide incentives to large community institutions, such as hospitals and universities, that hire and purchase locally and contract with businesses owned by women and people of color.

Philip Tegeler, executive director of the Poverty and Race Research Action Council, said public education also is part of the solution.

“Ensuring that children are in a safe community with access to a high-quality school — these are important goals to help children escape from poverty,” Tegeler said. “The educational disadvantage that is associated with high-poverty neighborhoods is possible to overcome, but very difficult.”

Tegeler said concentrated poverty resulted from “a long history of intentional segregation.” He blamed “municipal fragmentation” and the way land use, schools and taxation were used to separate communities by income.

Nationwide, 13 million children live in poverty, with 8.5 million in concentrated poverty.

“It’s important to recognize that children are only young once, and there’s only a few pressing years we have to really help children realize their potential,” Tegeler said.

Ernest Leonard Lakeson

April 15, 1935-November 1, 2019

Services

Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 3:00 P.M.

Word of Life Assembly of God
707 Brunswick Avenue
Emporia, Virginia 23847

 

Ernest Leonard Lakeson, 84, died Friday, November 1, 2019 at Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center.

A native of upstate New York, he was the son of the late Leonard Jeziorski and Petronella “Nellie” Brogowski Jeziorski. He worked for many years in New York School systems as a Psychologist, and retired from the Virginia Department of Corrections as a prison Psychologist. For many years he loved building and flying model airplanes, and after retirement enjoyed his home computer.

Ernest is survived by his loving wife, Joan P. Lakeson, a son, Kenneth Jeziorski and his wife Rhonda of Chesapeake, VA, a grandson, Jon Tyler Jeziorski, and a sister, Maria Stubing and her husband Larry of Spencerport, NY.

A Memorial Service will be held Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 3:00 P.M. at the Word of Life Assembly of God with Rev. Larry Walczykowski officiating.

Online condolences may be left at echolsfuneralhome.com.

Community Forum Informed Voters

Emporia News hosted a Candidates Forum at Greensville County Elementary School on October 21.

Candidates were given time for an opening statement asked a few questions from either readers or the editor of Emporia News and then time for a brief closing statement. The promise was made to try to provide the candidates with the questions, but they were slow to trickle in. Some candidates had no questions submitted and others had none until late that Monday afternoon.

There were a couple of candidates that complained on some social media platforms that they had not received questions and would not participate unless they did.

Jacqueline Jordan decided from the beginning not to attend. Several candidates never responded to the invitation and Linda Edwards emailed her regrets because of a prior engagement.

In the end we started with:

  • JoAnne Conner and George E. Morrison, III for Clerk of the Circuit Court
  • W. T. “Tim” Jarratt and Stephen King for Greensville County Sheriff
  • Raymond L. Bryant and Belinda D. Astrop for Board of Supervisors, Zion District
  • William “Bill” Cain for Board of Supervisors, Belfield District
  • Drexel W. Pierce, Jr. for Greensville County School Board, Nottoway District
  • Patricia Taylor Watson for Commonwealth’s Attorney

Questions began with the incumbent and followed with the challengers in alphabetical order where there were multiple challengers and all challengers were in attendance.

The first group to take the stage was the candidates for the office of Clerk of the Circuit Court. The Clerk of the Circuit Court is a Shared Service and is on the ballot for voters in both the City and the Cunty.

Following the canndidates for Clerk of the Circuit Court were the candidated for Sheriff of Greensville County. This is also a Shared Service, both County and City citizens vote for this office.

Following the candidates for Greensville County Sheriff, the candidates for Board of Supervisors in the Zion District took the stage.

Tags: 

Snap Out of It: Political Ads Appearing on Snapchat

 

 

 

By Emma North, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — A candidate for sheriff in a rural Virginia county is trying to reach younger voters by advertising on a social media platform popular with their age group — Snapchat.

William Stowell is an independent running for sheriff in Tuesday’s election in Botetourt County, nestled in the mountains in western Virginia. Stowell’s campaign ads on Snapchat feature policies he thinks will appeal especially to younger voters, particularly his views on tobacco laws.

“If I’m elected, if you’re 18 to 20 years old, you can go in and buy cigarettes in this county, and nobody’s going to harass you or anything like that,” Stowell said.

Stowell not only has an unusual media campaign plan but also is an unusual candidate. He is a convicted felon (for a third offense of driving under the influence) whose rights were restored in 2017 by then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Stowell said he began using Snapchat after issues with censorship on Instagram and Facebook. He has spent just $33 on Snapchat ads but has enjoyed a big return: about 511 impressions, or views, for every dollar spent.

This election cycle, Stowell is the only candidate running Snapchat ads in Virginia. However, political organizations, advocacy groups and marketing firms are advertising on the platform, trying to inform and/or influence Virginia voters.

According to the Snapchat Political Ads Library, such advertisements have received more than 7 million impressions in Virginia this year.

Snapchat began reporting its political ad history in September. The company’s website offers 2018 and 2019 political ad campaign data including money spent, impressions and start dates.

According to the website, “Snapchat empowers self-expression, including about politics. But political advertising that appears on Snapchat has to be transparent, lawful, and right for our users.”

Political ads on social media have triggered intense debate in recent weeks. It was triggered by Facebook‘s decision not to fact-check or remove political ads containing misinformation. On Wednesday, Twitter announced that it would ban all advertisements about political candidates, elections and controversial policy issues.

Snapchat’s policy is to review political ads on a case-by-case basis. The company said it would not allow “content that is misleading, deceptive, impersonates any person or entity, or otherwise misrepresents your affiliation with a person or entity.”

“We encourage political advertisers to be positive. But we don’t categorically ban ‘attack’ ads; expressing disagreement with or campaigning against a candidate or party is generally permissible if it meets our other guidelines,” the policy states. “That said, political ads must not include attacks relating to a candidate’s personal life.”

So far this year, Snapchat has carried about 1,200 political ads in the U.S., including 62 for Virginia political campaigns. Many of those campaigns started in September and closed immediately after the voter registration deadline on Oct. 15.

Snapchat reported that more than $30,000 was spent on political ads in Virginia in 2019. The largest spender is AcraMax Publishing Inc., which is based in Newport News and publishes news and feature stories online and in newsletters. AcraMax has spent almost $16,000 this year to share political ads on Snapchat.

Other large political ad spenders include Targeted Victory LLC.ACRONYMFP1 Strategies and Authentic Campaigns Inc. In addition, Donald J. Trump for President and the Trump MAGA Committee have purchased ads from a company called Realtime Media that has a P.O. Box in Arlington.

“ACRONYM is putting our money where our mouth is, literally, by being one of the only outside progressive groups advertising on Snapchat, and one of the only outside groups running digital ads supporting the impeachment inquiry,” said Tatenda Musapatike, senior director of campaigns for the organization, which was created after the 2016 presidential election.

In Virginia, ACRONYM has launched a voter registration and mobilization program called People’s Power Grab.

“To get young voters and voters of color registered and engaged in the run-up to the 2019 elections, People’s Power Grab is running Snapchat ads because they know that those two groups are spending a significant amount of their time on the platform,” Musapatike said.

Musapatike said her group has been able to track the success of the People’s Power Grab ad campaign by monitoring impressions and click-through rates.

“The higher those two stats are, the more confidence we have that our campaign is going to be successful in encouraging young adults in Virginia to vote this year,” Musapatike said.

According to the Snapchat Political Ads Library, ACRONYM ads have received about 383,000 impressions so far this year.

In terms of reaching an audience, Snapchat advertisements can range widely. AcraMax saw 275 impressions per dollar spent — but the Southern Environmental Law Center has done much better. The SELC spent $509 on Snapchat ads and had about 505 impressions for every dollar spent.

Claudine Ebeid McElwain, the program communications manager for the SELC, said Snapchat is one of many channels the center uses to engage Virginians on environmental issues like offshore drilling and threats to clean water. The SELC ads ran during the late spring and early summer.

Virginia College Students Weigh in Before Election Day

Capital News Service, By Emma North, with contributing writers

RICHMOND -- All 140 seats of the Virginia legislature are up for election on Tuesday and college students across the state have been busy registering voters, hosting town halls and canvassing for candidates. 

"College students are more likely to vote in 2019 than any other Virginia midterm because of the aggressive voter registration efforts at college campuses around the state this fall,” Stephen Farnsworth, director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington, said in an email.

Many eyes are on the student vote this election. According to the United States Census Bureau, the largest percentage point increase in voter turnout for any age group in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections was among 18- to 29-year-olds, when voter turnout spiked from 20 percent in 2014 to 36 percent in 2018.

Students at four-year institutions in Virginia make up around 5% of Virginia’s voting age population, according to an analysis of data from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. In certain key districts students make up a larger portion of the voting population. House District 12 covers part of the Virginia Tech campus and the entire Radford University campus. Radford students make up 19% of the district. 

"The impact of increased student voting also may shape races in districts without colleges and universities as some students choose to register to vote based on where they grew up, and others choose to register where they are going to school," Farnsworth said.

Grant Fox, press secretary for the Democratic Party of Virginia, said Democratic campaigns have worked closely with the party’s groups in university districts.

“Often the best voter registration and canvassing efforts on college campuses are run by students, and Democratic campaigns have been working with student organizers to register and mobilize young voters effectively," Fox said.

John Findlay, executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia, said Republicans always try for the student vote. 

“Numerous campaigns have had internship programs and contacts with College Republican chapters,” Findlay said. 

CNS reporters compiled information about student voter engagement and policy concerns from 14 Virginia college campuses with enrollment over 4,500 people. Political groups and campaign campus organizers were contacted.

Several themes echoed across campuses: concerns about climate change, varying views on gun control and a strong push to register as many students as possible. 

Based on a CNS analysis of competitive races, redistricting changes and recent voting trends on Virginia Public Access Project, nine of these college campuses fall into competitive race districts. Candidates in some of these districts also weigh in on how they have focused on gaining student support. 

Findlay said student turnout could “definitely” affect House Districts 85, 93, 91 and 12 and Senate Districts 6 and 7. He also said turnout could affect SD 10 and HD 28, “although most students live outside those districts.”

Christopher Newport University

Senate District 1: Democratic incumbent Monty Mason, running unopposed

House of Delegates District 94: Republican incumbent David Yancey; Democrat Shelly Simonds; Libertarian Michael Bartley (competitive)

The rematch between incumbent Yancey and Simonds could be impacted by higher student voter turnout. In 2017, the seat was decided by a tiebreaker determined by a random drawing from a ceramic bowl. The undergraduate enrollment is almost 4,900. 

Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at CNU, said over email that student turnout can have an important impact on the outcome of elections big and small. She said the 18- to 24-year-old age group votes in exceedingly small numbers, as does the age cohort above them.

“This causes the population pyramid and the voting population pyramid to be inversed - and although younger Americans should make up the majority of voters they make up a small minority,” Bitecofer said. She added that even a small increase in turnout among college students can “have a profound impact.”

According to Bitecofer, a school the size of Virginia Commonwealth University can exert “great influence on the outcomes of these off off year elections which have low turnout overall.”

The challenge is a little harder for CNU because of the size of its student body, she said. “I think CNU is fairly reflective of other student bodies in that they care about issues like student loans and climate change,” Bitecofer said.

George Mason University

SD 34: Democratic incumbent Sen. Chap Petersen, running unopposed

HD 37: Democratic incumbent Del. David Bulova, running unopposed

There are over 26,000 undergraduate students at the university. The student-run George Mason Democrats organization provides voting education, hosts campus political events and canvasses dorm to dorm and house to house for get-out-the-vote efforts. Group member Erica Kelly expects a high voter turnout this off-election year. 

“Ever since we got our campus precinct, our numbers have gone up and up,” Kelly said. 

Registered GMU students can cast their ballot at the on-campus precinct in Murten Hall. The university registered 3,700 students to vote, according to Kelly. She expects around 2,000 will cast a ballot. George Mason Democrats will drive students to polling places on Election Day. They also helped register students for absentee voting. Fifty-three students voted absentee last year, Kelly said, but doesn’t have the numbers for this year. 

The GMU College Republicans group is also visible on campus. The group has thrown efforts into phone banking and canvassing for local races in Northern Virginia ahead of the election, since both House and Senate candidates are incumbents running unopposed.

James Madison University

SD 26: Republican incumbent Mark Obenshain; Democrat April Moore

HD 26: Republican incumbent Tony Wilt; Democrat Brent Finnegan

JMU has more than 19,000 undergraduate students. Both House and Senate districts skew Republican, though HD 26 leans slightly more Democratic after redistricting.

Dukes Vote, a student-led initiative supported by JMU’s Center for Civic Engagement, is leading the school’s get-out-the-vote efforts. 

Primarily focused on education and engagement, Dukes Vote said it has visited over 70 classes this fall to educate students about the voting process and offer voter registration. 

“We have a traveling candidate town hall,” said Carah Ong Whaley, associate director of the Center for Civic Engagement. “We bring the candidates from all sides of the aisle to campus and they go to three different residence halls in one night to engage with students directly.”

Environmental issues weigh the heaviest in the minds of students, said Reilly Flynn, a sophomore studying English at JMU and political director for the JMU College Democrats. 

“The climate crisis is very real and will be catastrophic,” Flynn said.

JMU College Republicans did not respond to a request for comment.

Liberty University

SD 23: Republican incumbent Stephen Newman, running unopposed

HD 23: Democrat David Zilles; Republican Wendell Walker

With an undergraduate enrollment of 45,935, Liberty University has a College Republicans group and a College Libertarians group. The university is a Christian academic community. Its founder, Jerry Falwell, endorsed Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 and Ted Cruz announced his presidential campaign at Liberty, in 2015.

College Libertarians President Aaron Sobczak said that in previous years he had seen get-out-the-vote efforts from the school but nothing this year. He cited a pro-life stance on abortion and gun rights as the most important issues to students, but College Republicans Chairman Nathan Hines said the biggest issue for his group was convincing students to vote. 

"It’s something we’ve always struggled with, especially with this generation being a little more liberal," Hines said. "We just keep informing our students and our members of the issues at hand and the importance of getting involved."

University of Mary Washington 

SD 17: Republican incumbent Bryce Reeves; Democrat Amy Laufer.

HD 28: Democrat Joshua Cole; Republican Paul Milde III (competitive)

The total enrollment at the university is over 4,700. District 28, which encompasses parts of Stafford County and Fredericksburg City (including UMW campus), is home to a particularly competitive race this election season between Democrat Cole and Republican Milde.

Farnsworth said most of the university’s students are keeping a close watch on the Cole-Milde race. 

“District 28 was home to one of the closest elections in the Commonwealth two years ago, and an influx of student voters may end up being decisive in that contest, settled in 2017 by less than 100 votes out of more than 23,000 cast,” Farnsworth said. “The vast majority of Mary Washington students who have registered in Fredericksburg as city residents will be voting in the Milde-Cole race.”

Get-out-the-vote efforts on Mary Washington’s campus have been particularly robust this year with registration drives helping to get more students signed up or aware of how to fill out an absentee ballot, he added.

“Students have organized ride-shares to take students to the polls in Fredericksburg city, and that will also help boost student turnout,” Farnsworth said.

Norfolk State University

SD 5: Democratic incumbent Lionell Spruill running unopposed

HD 89: Democratic incumbent Jerrauld Jones running unopposed

Over 5,000 students are enrolled at NSU, a historically black college. Old Dominion University, located a few miles away, shares the same House District. 

NSU is hosting actress Kerry Washington on Nov. 3 to discuss voting, activism and democracy. Norfolk State Young Democrats has also been campaigning for the competitive race in HD 81 between Republican incumbent Del. Barry Knight and Democratic challenger Lenard Myers, a CNU graduate. 

The group also took over the university’s Instagram account on National Voter Registration Day, to help pump student voter registration. The university’s College Republicans group has not been active on their Facebook page since 2013 and no Republican group is listed on the university website.

Old Dominion University

SD 6: Democratic incumbent Lynwood Lewis; Republican Elizabeth Lankford (competitive)

HD 89: Democratic incumbent Jerrauld Jones, running unopposed

The undergraduate enrollment at ODU is 19,372. Sydney Johnson, president of the ODU Democrats, said that for the past two weeks students canvassed across the campus to emphasize the importance of students voting, especially given the competitive Senate race between Lewis and Lankford.

“This year, we have a lot of students canvassing,” Johnson said. “We do our best to get everybody active. Everybody knows what their polling location is. We remind people to vote.”

According to Johnson, some of the key issues that matter to students are student debt, immigration and police brutality. Johnson said she feels frustrated when she hears students, especially African Americans, ask her why they should vote.

“You’re a black American and it matters,” Johnson said.

ODU Democrats also made sure that students who aren’t native to Norfolk register for absentee ballots.

“There’s a lot of students who do an absentee ballot,” Johnson said. “In fact, I know two of my best friends are voting absentee.”

Radford University 

SD 38: Republican incumbent A. Benton Chafin; Independent George McCall III

HD 12: Democratic incumbent Chris Hurst; Republican T. Forrest Hite (competitive)

Hurst is getting out the vote to Radford University's almost 8,000 undergraduate students and has registered around 1,000 students to vote between Radford and Virginia Tech universities, according to Geoffrey Preudhomme, former president of the Radford University Young Democrats. 

Hurst ran an effective campaign, reaching young voters at Virginia Tech and Radford. “He unlocked the student vote,” Preudhomme said. “That's the only reason he won was because of the surplus [of votes] from Radford and Virginia Tech put him over the edge.”

Radford University Young Democrats lobbied to move a polling location closer to campus and will give rides to the polls, Preudhomme said. Students are concerned with student debt, climate change, marijuana legalization, gun violence, and LGBTQ, racial and gender equality.

College Republicans at Radford University said they haven’t had as much traction, according to their president, Jeff Geisinger. 

“It's definitely been a struggle out here. So we haven't had the manpower to really participate in any door knocking or any registration, or anything for that matter,” Geisinger said. “We just have been trying to get people interested.”

According to Geisinger, the campus is very liberal. Conservative values such as the ability to openly carry firearms without government involvement, limited taxation and free market capitalism do not resonate with the student body, and Republicans on campus may not speak up, he said.

Regent University

SD 7: Democrat Del. Cheryl Turpin and Republican candidate Jen Kiggans (competitive)

HD 85: Democrat Alex Askew; Republican Rocky Holcomb (competitive)

Regent has an undergraduate enrollment of 4,646. Holcomb hopes to get his House seat back after losing it to Turpin in 2017. And Turpin hopes to secure the open Senate seat in District 7, which has voted blue since the 2016 presidential election when voters were split between Trump and Hillary Clinton. At Regent, student education is offered from a Christian perspective. According to Pew Research, in the 2018 midterms, most white evangelical Christians continued to support Republican candidates. The university provides voting registration information to students, along with the message: “Every vote counts!” Regent states on its website that it “neither supports nor opposes any candidate for public office.”

There is a Federalist Society on campus that hosts discussions surrounding national policy issues. The organization did not return a request for comment by time of publication. 

Findlay agreed that a strong student voter turnout from Regent could help Republican candidates and said it “could definitely help both SD 7 and HD 85.”

Virginia Commonwealth University 

SD 9: Democratic incumbent Jennifer McClellan; Libertarian Mark Lewis

SD 10: Republican incumbent Glen Sturtevant; Democrat Ghazala Hashmi (competitive)

HD 68: Democratic incumbent Dawn Adams; Republican Garrison Coward

HD 71: Democratic incumbent Jeff Bourne; Libertarian Pete Wells

VCU has an undergraduate student enrollment of 24,058 according to U.S. News. VCU Votes Coalition will provide assistance to college students on Election Day. The coalition is formed by students and faculty who aim to promote voter engagement on campus. There is a polling location on campus at the Student Commons.

"We will be focused on helping students with their polling location, providing nonpartisan sample ballots and voting guides, and making sure they get to the polls,” said Madeline Doane, student leader of the program. 

The coalition’s get-out-the-votes effort began months ago. VCU Votes said it has helped over 2,500 students register during the fall semester.

Doane said VCU Votes visited over 40 classes typically taken by freshmen to provide students with nonpartisan information about the elections. The coalition registered 100 new voters through this classroom initiative.

VCU Votes also organized forums and roundtables with local candidates to inform students, including a forum with Hashmi on Oct. 25.

The VCU Young Democrats worked to engage students through weekly meetings where they discussed the most pressing issues to the members and the general community, according to Kaylin Cecchini, vice president of the group.

“We’ve seen this has been successful; working jointly with other organizations, candidates, and officials we’ve seen a huge increase in student voter enthusiasm,” Cecchini said. “Voting is essential to having your voice heard and represented in government, so we work very hard to get as many students active in the political process as we possibly can.”

College Republicans of VCU could not respond to questions regarding student engagement and preparation for Election Day but offered the following comment through social media: “We value everyone's opinion and believe their voice should be heard in every election.” 

Sturtevant did not return a request for comment. The Young Republican Federation of Virginia also did not respond.

Virginia State University 

SD 16: Democrat Joseph Morrissey; Independent Waylin Ross 

HD 66: Republican incumbent Kirk Cox; Democrat Sheila Bynum-Coleman (competitive)

The combined student population at this historically black college is approximately 4,600, according to the university. NextGen America has worked on the VSU campus since September, encouraging voter registration and “talking to students about the issues they care about,” Wafa May Elamin, NextGen Virginia organizer said.

On National Voter Registration Day, NextGen partnered with the Student Liaison Outreach Team, according to Elamin. The organization has also canvassed neighborhoods. Bynum-Coleman, Democratic candidate for HD 66, also joined the team. 

Elamin said they have information tables at the student center and maintain visibility on campus to connect with students. 

A big concern from students on campus is racial equity, according to Elamin. Other important issues include access to health care, being a part of low-income communities, and receiving quality education at their university.

“Those are a lot of the conversations that we’re having and they’re still continuing,” Elamin said.

 The polling place for students is at Ettrick Elementary School, which is a “20-minute walk off campus,” according to Elamin. NextGen will shuttle students to the polling place and back to campus every 30 minutes.

In office since 1989, Cox is in a competitive race against Bynum-Coleman. Fundraising in 2019 was neck-and-neck, with Bynum-Coleman raising over $1.4 million and Cox raising over $1.3 million. Redistricting shifted by 32 percentage points in favor of Democrats, according to VPAP. Morrissey is already considered the projected winner of SD 16, though he faces Independent Waylin Ross on the ballot. 

Democratic leadership, including former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, have recently supported Morrissey.

Virginia Tech

SD 21: Democratic incumbent John Edwards; Independent Steve Nelson

HD 7: Republican incumbent Larry Rush; Democrat Rhonda Seltz

HD 12: Democratic incumbent Chris Hurst; T. Forrest Hite (competitive)

The undergraduate enrollment is almost 28,000. Virginia Tech’s campus is home to multiple political organizations including the Young Democrats, College Republicans, Green Party and Young Americans for Liberty.

The Young Democrats at Virginia Tech are usually “the ones that are typically standing outside and yelling at people to make sure people are registered,” said Virginia Tech political science student Annika Klingen. 

The College Republicans at Virginia Tech host get-out-the-vote call nights and attend town hall meetings. 

Klingen mentioned a couple important issues to students. 

“Climate change is the No. 1 biggest one on this campus,” she said. 

She also said that in the aftermath of protests over Virginia Tech’s handling of a Title IX case in April that women’s issues have become a prevalent topic on campus as well. 

Most on-campus students vote at Squires Student Center, while the military segment of the student population, the Corps of Cadets, and off-campus students vote at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church.

Hurst has campus organizers at Virginia Tech to help register voters and knock on doors. According to his campaign manager, Michelle Moffit, Hurst represents more students than anyone in the Virginia General Assembly. Moffit said they are “hyper-aware” of the student vote and that it is crucial to their district. 

Hurst’s opponent, Forrest Hite, did not respond to a request for comment.

College of William & Mary 

SD 1: Democratic incumbent T. Monty Mason, running unopposed

HD 93: Democratic incumbent Michael Mullin; Republican Heather Cordasco (competitive)

The college has an undergraduate enrollment of 6,377. Due to redistricting, the HD 93 race between Mullin and Cordasco is more competitive than in previous election cycles. Both the William and Mary Young Democrats and College Republicans have engaged in outreach events throughout campus.

The College Republicans have hosted monthly pizza socials and held meetings with candidates from nearby House districts. Per their Facebook page, the group has met with 91st District candidate Colleen Holcomb and 96th District candidate Amanda Batten this semester.

The Young Democrats recently held a tailgate event, which was attended by McAuliffe, Mason and Mullin. The group canvassed on weekends throughout the semester.

Mullin said that student outreach has been a major focus of his campaign’s get-out-the-vote effort.

“Lots of the issues we vote on in the General Assembly impact students’ lives,” Mullin said. “With so many important issues on the ballot, we feel confident they’ll turn out and vote next Tuesday.”

Mullin’s opponent, Cordasco, did not respond to a request for comment.

University of Virginia

SD 25: Democratic incumbent Creigh Deeds; Independent Elliot Harding

HD 57: Democrat Sally Hudson, running unopposed

There are 16,777 undergraduate students and 7,862 graduate students at U.Va, for a total of 24,639 on the grounds, according to the university. Both the University Democrats at UVA and College Republicans at UVA have been active in outreach to the student body. Both groups have also been vocal about the political impact of holding exams on Election Day, according to the university paper.

Though there is no competitive race in the district, groups have canvassed for other districts and emphasized the importance of voting. 

The College Republicans recently canvassed for Cox, Kiggans and Stolle. 

Along with stressing the importance of voter turnout, College Democrats said on Facebook that flipping the House and Senate blue will give Democrats “the ability to make real tangible change in Richmond and push for policy that we are passionate about, such as gun control, the ERA and LGBTQ rights, to name a couple things.”

Why is this election different?

This is the first state legislative election since the election of Trump, who lost Virginia to Clinton, and the beginning of increased Democratic resistance movements at all levels of government. 

“He has dominated the news cycle nearly every day of his presidency, and that intense media and public focus on politics has more people than ever paying attention to his actions,” Farnsworth said. 

This election, 85 of the 140 seats are contested by a major party compared to 49 seats contested by a major party in 2015. 

Historic fundraising totals also reflect the momentum Democrats are trying to gain in the legislature. House and Senate Democrats raised a combined $62 million during the current election cycle (2016-2019) while Republicans raised just shy of $48 million, according to VPAP. And Democrats have spent almost $24 million more to secure the House, compared to 2015.

Farnsworth said this year’s election is pivotal because Republicans hold a narrow majority in both chambers of the legislature. Republicans lead in the House 51-48, with one seat vacant. They lead in the Senate 20-19, with one seat vacant.

Taking a wider view, Democrats haven’t held both the General Assembly and the executive branch in a generation, according to political analyst  Bob Holsworth. Democrats last held the majority in the House in 1999 and Democrats had control of the Senate in 2007, but also briefly controlled the Senate after the 2013 elections and following special elections with a 20-20 split, Holsworth explained. Ralph Northam was lieutenant governor at the time, but control didn’t last after a Democratic senator resigned and they lost the special election, he said.

Republicans have not lost hope for holding the majority despite the gap in fundraising. 

“Money doesn't vote, the constituents do, and our polls show us that I am still ahead," said Del. Glenn Davis, R-Virginia Beach, in a previous CNS interview.

The National Rifle Association said they aren’t concerned by the cash injection on the other side of the gun lobby from Everytown for Gun Safety. Everytown donated almost $1.5 million to Democrats this year, compared to the NRA’s $350,269 to Republicans. 

“I’ve been at this for nearly 30 years and I’ve seen time and again our voters swing key elections,” said Glen Caroline, head of the NRA’s Grassroots Programs and Campaign Field Operations Division, in a previous CNS interview. “I am aware of all the money our opponents are spending, but I’m not intimidated.”

The party with the majority will yield influence when the General Assembly takes up redistricting in 2021. Virginia usually redistricts every 10 years around the Census but in 2018, 25 House Districts in the central and southeastern part of the state were redistricted following a court order.

Students around Virginia have made it clear they plan to show up on Election Day.

“Young people tell pollsters they are more likely to vote Democratic than Republican by about a 60-40 margin, an engaged student population is more likely to help Democratic candidates,” Farnsworth said.

Election Day is Tuesday, and the polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. The newly elected legislators will assume office the second Wednesday in January following the election.

CNS staff Aliviah Jones, Christopher Brown, Imani Thaniel, Jason Boleman, Jeffrey Raines, Jimmy O’Keefe, Mario Sequeira Quesada, Morgan Edwards, Rodney Robinson, and Susan Shibut contributed to this report.

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