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Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023

It’s Election Day! (Yes, I know some of you voted already, but the journalist in me is still excited!)

For the first time ever, our little team here at Charlottesville Tomorrow has created a massive regional Voter Guide for Central Virginia. If you live in Charlottesville, Scottsville, Dillwyn or Mineral, or anywhere in the counties of Albemarle, Appomattox, Buckingham, Cumberland, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson and Orange — we have information about the races on your ballots and the candidates seeking your votes.

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2023 Voter Guide for Central Virginia

Since this is our first Voter Guide for Central Virginia, here are some quick tips on how to use it!

There are multiple ways to get information about your candidates. If you’d like to see all races on your ballot, check out our map feature. Use the search function to enter your address, and your ballot will appear. Each ballot lists the races you can vote in, with links to the Q&As and news about them.

If you’re interested in a specific race, scroll past the maps to the tabs listing the localities. Click on the locality you’re interested in, and a list of all the races in that area will appear.

The guide includes Q&As and roundups of other media coverage of all 156 local and state races in this region. I’ve personally read each entry and, frankly, I’ve learned a lot — not just about our local candidates, but also the offices they fill.

Last week, we published a rundown of all the contested races in our Voter Guide so you can quickly scan through to see which elections you’ll be deciding.

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A quick guide to competitive local races in Central Virginia

In Louisa County, for example, there is a three-way race happening for the Louisa District Board of Supervisors seat. All three candidates responded to our Q&A, which we wrote based on responses to our voter survey last spring. This means voters in this district have the ability to directly compare their candidates’ positions on topics that matter to them. (And, based on their answers, these three candidates’ positions differ a lot.)

While races like that are exciting, they’re the exception in Central Virginia. Of the 156 local and state elections we tracked this year, an incredible 111 of them are either uncontested or do not have enough candidates to fill the open seats. Still, we reached out to all the candidates, and the responses we received from those without opposition were just as interesting.

When asked why there are so few candidates for Soil and Water District directors, for example, Orange County candidate Bob Brame said: “It is most likely a matter of lack of being informed of the work we do to serve. Most people in the agriculture community are aware of our role, but many in the general population are not. This is made more difficult by the lack of local and rural newspaper coverage.”

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From the community

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That brings me to my final point: Despite our very best efforts, there are many races in Central Virginia for which we’ve found very little information. The candidates did not respond to the questionnaires we sent, and no other independent media reported on the race that we could find. But, we published what we knew — the names of the certified candidates, their campaign contributions (thank you Virginia Public Access Project), what we could find about their election record and information about the offices they are seeking.

(We’re already excited to get to work on next year’s voter guide to hopefully shed light on some of these areas that have received so little coverage!)

I truly hope you find this new Voter Guide useful! It’s been a tremendous effort by our entire newsroom to make this happen. Tell us what you think! How are you using it, and how can we improve it next year? Click here to get in touch with us.

Ready to go to the polls? Here’s a tool from the Virginia Department of Elections to find your polling place.

Happy voting!
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.