Early Voting Begins on September 17
Voting every year in Virginia is…. exhausting; emails, voicemails, texts, ads on your phone scroll and of course, TV ads. It never seems to stop. And this from a person (me!) who participates in every election as a volunteer of some sort and fervently believes that staying engaged in our civic life is essential.
To this end, for the past few years, I’ve featured voting information prominently in this newsletter. You may notice that it looks similar to information and articles that you’ve seen in the past. I work hard to make sure that everything stays up to date; if you see something I missed, please let me know.
But this year – for the first time I think – I wondered why Virginia is one of only a few states that puts its citizens through this exercise. It turns out that the history of voting in Virginia is illuminating!
Some of the details seem confusing, but essentially, as noted in Virginia Public Media;
“Virginia’s unusual election calendar dates back to the state’s 1851 Constitution, which gave all white male property-holders over the age of 21 the right to vote and to directly elect the governor.
The first statewide gubernatorial elections were held that December and continued in off-years ever since.
Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said the odd election calendar wasn’t initially a tactical decision by politicians at the time. But he said it came to benefit the powerful Byrd Organization, who ran Virginia’s segregationist Democratic Party during the first half of the 20th century and beyond.”
Ahh! Now I get it. The exhaustion appears to be deliberate; so as to keep voters away? I also read that another reason may be that elections in off-years means that the
candidates are not tied to the mood of a presidential election year. Really? Sounds like a political fig leaf to me. End result? I’m more motivated than ever…
See the Bibliography in the box below for even more interesting details. And VOTE!
See you in the winter!