If you plan on voting in the closely watched Nov. 5 election in Virginia, but aren’t sure about your voter registration status, you will need to act soon.

The deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration, is Tuesday, Oct. 15, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.

Absentee voting in Virginia is already underway, and continues in person through Saturday, Nov. 2. The last day to request an absentee ballot by mail is Tuesday, Oct. 29.

So why should you vote on Nov. 5? Here’s why:

Only four states will determine legislative elections this year and the Commonwealth of Virginia is the only one where control of the state Legislature is up for grabs.

Republicans currently maintain a razor-thin majority in the General Assembly. But Virginia has been blue leaning in recent years, and many political experts are predicting that Democrats will capture majority control next month of both the state Senate and House of Delegates. The state’s governor, Ralph Northam, also is a Democrat.

Also helping Democrats is the fact that the population-heavy metropolitan areas of Northern Virginia tend to vote heavily Democratic. Still, a strong voter turnout across rural Southwest Virginia and Southside Virginia — areas that tend to be more conservative and red — would help in equalling out those odds.

Also watching the Nov. 5 contest will be the national news media, which has already designated Virginia as the marquee warmup for the 2020 national elections.

Thus, a Democratic sweep of Virginia on Nov. 5 would be viewed as an early 2020 warning sign for Republicans, and President Donald Trump. Likewise, a Republican victory in Virginia next month could be declared as a repudiation of the Democratic-led impeachment investigation currently underway in Washington.

Considering what is at stake, why would anyone not vote?

Remember that there is more on the ballot next month than just control of the General Assembly. Local school board, board of supervisor and sheriff races also will be decided by local voters.

That’s why we urge all residents of Southwest Virginia to vote this November. If you aren’t registered to vote, you still have time to do so.

Contact or visit your local voter registration office now to ensure that you can cast a ballot come Nov. 5.

The more who vote, the greater the voice of Southwest Virginia.

 

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