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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.

Voters across Virginia will be heading to the polls next week. At stake? Each of the state’s 140 lawmakers that make up the General Assembly. You may not have heard much about it though, because many seats are uncontested and not generating much attention. But some state senate races are the exception. Who wins these races could determine the shape of Virginia politics for the next two years. 

Wayne Boese has always cared about local politics. 

Changes at the Polls

Oct 22, 2015

If it’s been a while since you voted, you may notice some changes this Election Day.  Most precincts in Virginia on November 3rd will be using a mix of new machines-and one old tradition to count your ballot.  

One way votes used to be collected can be seen inside a 7-foot-metal cabinet in a back room at the Roanoke Municipal Building.

On the shelves City Registrar of Voters Andrew Cochran has reams of 8 ½  x 11 paper ballots, each about as thick as an index card and costing 25 cents a piece.

Study or Skip? College Students on 10th District Senate Seat

Oct 21, 2015

With two weeks left before election day... candidates for Richmond’s contested 10th district Senate seat Tuesday night. It's a critical seat, but behind every student who follows local elections, there are a couple more who don't. 

The auditorium was almost full with students who clearly care about politics.

In the running: Democrat Dan Gecker, Republican Glen Sturtevant, Marleen Durfee, an independent and Carl Loser, a libertarian.

"These are the people who determine are laws, determine how high our college tuition is and things like that."