Elections

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Absentee Voters

Nov 2, 2015

State and local election officials are hoping to see a lot of people at the polls Tuesday.  But must experts believe only about 23-to-29 percent of those registered will vote will show up.

Some have already voted…they cast absentee ballots.

The State Board of Elections says it’s received more than 55,000 absentee ballots so far. That’s close to the same number that came in four years ago, in the last off-year election like this.

www.nonprofitvote.org

 It’s an adage of American voting behavior that, the older you are… the more likely you are to vote.  Student activists in Virginia are trying to change that, but it isn’t easy. 

Julia Billingsly, is Director of Virginia 21 at Virginia Tech, a non-profit, non-partisan group active at all 13 public, 4-year colleges in Virginia.

For months, she’s been asking everyone on campus, who will listen.  And she kept at it until the very last day before the deadline to register, the very last hours in fact, she was in the Squires Student Center.

 As we’ve been hearing this week -- Tuesday’s state-wide elections will determine Virginia’s lawmakers for the next two years. Also at stake: which party will control Virginia’s State Senate.  But just what is the effect of who controls the state senate? 

Virginia’s Governor is a Democrat, and it’s legislature is controlled completely by Republicans. But, if Democrats win just one extra seat on Tuesday.. that could change.

We’ve been looking this week at critical political races happening in the state this election year -- races that could determine which party has control of the state senate. What happens with those seats will depend largely on who comes out to vote.

When there’s no presidential name on the top of a ticket, it’s called an off-year election. And turn out-numbers for off-year elections? According to Quentin Kidd, a political analyst at Christopher Newport University, they aren’t so hot.

Another closely-watched race that could turn the Senate tables is happening in the Commonwealth’s 21st district, spanning from Roanoke to Giles County.

Incumbent Democrat John Edwards has held his seat for nearly 20 years, and he’s being challenged by Republican Nancy Dye, a former surgeon, and Independent Don Caldwell, the longest serving commonwealth’s attorney in Roanoke and a longtime Democrat.

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