Primary Day in Virginia

Jun 10, 2013

Credit npr

Tuesday is primary election day, with two statewide offices and also 18 House of Delegates and local races on the ballot.  The statewide election is a high-stakes one, where voters will choose the Democratic nominees for lieutenant governor and attorney general.  But if history is any indicator, the candidates can expect a low voter turnout.

Two Democrats are vying for Lieutenant Governor and two for Attorney General.  But in 2009—even with gubernatorial candidates—the statewide primary turnout was roughly 6 percent of voters.  The 2005 statewide races yielded a turnout of 2 to 4 percent.  State Election Lead Matt Abell says the candidates are battling a trend.

“We have some statewide races here for the Democratic Party, so the idea that it might be a little bit more interesting for folks and by that interest, they participate more.  But historically, yes, primaries are not as highly participated in.”

Democrats also have three House of Delegates seats on the ballot, while Republicans have eight.  Abell says those who want to vote for a Republican House nominee must use a GOP ballot without the statewide offices.

“So what a citizen has to do in a case where their jurisdiction or polling place is experiencing this dual primary, is choose to either vote in the Democratic primary or the Republican primary.  But, again, they’re not permitted to vote in both party primaries.”

Voters should bring IDs, but photo IDs will NOT be required for this election.

Voters can find ALL primary candidates in their districts on the State Board of Elections website at: .