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Friday, Sept. 1, 2023

Today’s newsletter is for all you voters and could-be voters out there — early voting starts today!

Beginning Friday, Sept. 22, voters can head to their local registrar’s office and cast their ballots. 

Need help deciding who to vote for?

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2023 Voter Guide for Central Virginia

This year, we are compiling an extensive Voter Guide with information about all the races in Charlottesville and 11 central Virginian counties. That’s 148 local races for school boards, sheriffs, court clerks, boards of supervisors, and much more.

We’re sending questionnaires, which we designed based on the more than 200 responses we received to a voter survey earlier this year, to all the Department of Elections certified candidates for these races.

These Q&As provide a window into the candidates’ thoughts, plans and beliefs. Here are some examples of those that have already come back:

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Voter Guide: Q&As with the two candidates seeking to represent the Palmyra District on Fluvanna County’s Board of Supervisors

Candidates James D. Schoenster and Timothy M. Hodge both emphasize diversifying the tax base, with different ideas about how to get there.

Voter Guide: Q&As with the two candidates for Commissioner of Revenue in Prince Edward County

Incumbent Edna Trent Goldman is seeking a second term. Challenger Crystal M. Hensley has worked in commissioners’ offices.

Voter Guide: Q&As with the three candidates for Charlottesville City Council

The three candidates for three City Council seats see housing as one of the top issues for the city.

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From the community

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As we receive responses, we are publishing candidates’ answers side-by-side so you can easily compare their stances and decide which candidate you think should serve. At least, you’ll be able to do this for the contested races. That is admittedly not many.

Of the 148 local races we’ve tracked in Central Virginia, only 39 are contested. That’s only one-fourth of local contests. Nearly 60 percent, 88 races, are uncontested. That means — unless a write-in candidate comes from behind to overtake the certified candidate — these races are already decided. (We are still sharing Q&As with candidates who are uncontested. We think it’s important to know something about who you are voting for, even if they are the only printed option.)

Even more troubling, though, nearly 15%, 21 races, have no candidates at all.

This is a major issue for localities across this region, and one we are reporting on for an upcoming story. Be sure to watch for that in the coming weeks!

Are there other election-related stories you’d like to see us report on? Go to this link and send us a message with whatever questions or tips you have! We’re a small team, so we won’t be able to get to all of them, I’m very sorry to say. But election coverage is a priority for us between now and Nov. 7. So, please share!

And here’s some quick voting information you might find helpful: If you’d like to vote early at your registrar’s office between now and Election Day, check this Department of Elections website before you go to make sure all your voter registration is in order (you can also register to vote there), and get your early voting locations.

There are other options for voting if you don’t wish to head your registrar’s office early. Anyone can vote by mail. Here’s the DOE’s instructions on how to do that. Keep in mind, you have until Oct. 27 to request a main-in ballot.

And, of course, you can vote in person on Election Day, Nov. 7, 2023, at your polling place. Find where that is at this link.

On a completely unrelated note, fall officially begins tomorrow, and it looks like we’ll have the weather to match! With or without rain, I hope you’re able to enjoy it.

Jessie Higgins, managing editor

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I'm Charlottesville Tomorrow's managing editor and health and safety reporter. If there’s something you think we should be investigating, please email me at jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org! And you can follow all the work we do by subscribing to our free newsletter! Hablo español, y quiero mantener a la comunidad hispanohablante informada. Si tienes preguntas o información que debo saber, por favor, envíame un correo electrónico a jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org.