It’s the official Election Day across the Commonwealth, and those registered voters who have not already mailed in their votes or taken advantage of early voting will be heading to the polls to cast ballots today.
The big election on the ballot is for the governor’s chair, with former Gov. Terry McAuliffe for the Democrats and Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin. The final day of campaigning led to a flurry of political advertising and fundraising emails from Republicans and Democrats clamoring for last-minute monies to defeat the opponent and stave off what both sides see as potential disaster if the other side wins. Across the country, pundits and voters are watching the outcome, seeing it as either an affirmation or repudiation of President Joe Biden.
If voters are thinking their party or candidate of choice will likely win, even the bookies say don’t bet on it.
Many polls show the race to be very close, and the off-shore betting websites that take bets on American politics were busy Monday setting odds that changed nearly every hour.
“The odds essentially equate to a tossup in gambling speak,” said Joshua Barton at The Odds PR, in an email.
Barton said many political betting analysts believe McAuliffe will win, pointing to the 2017 election in which Gov. Ralph Northam had a 3.35 lead in the polls but won by about 9% of the vote.
“That said, the odds for margin of victory have dropped from 5% to 1%,” Barton said.
PredictIt, a New Zealand-based betting website, gave the nod to McAuliffe, but bettors all over the world spent Monday putting their money on Youngkin. Bettors were also betting on the turnout, the election result compared to opinion polls, the corporate tax rate for 2022, who will be the Democratic Party candidate for president in 2024 and the who will be the Israeli prime minister on Dec. 31.
Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman, of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, are not betting. In a Monday post to the center’s Sabato’s Crystal Ball, they said the results favor McAuliffe, sort of.
“The race has been very close for a long time, based on our understanding of both public and private polling and modeling,” they wrote. “We kept the race at ‘leans Democratic’ anyway because, even in a close race, we’ve come to believe that a state’s baseline partisanship can break ties in favor of the state’s stronger party — which is the Democrats in Virginia.”
For most voters, it’s neither the spread nor the opinion polls that matter but who actually gets in the office. Today they will also get to choose Virginia’s lieutenant governor, attorney general and members of the House of Delegates.
Locally, Albemarle County’s school board and Board of Supervisors have seats are up for a vote The same holds true with Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson and Orange counties. Charlottesville voters have a city council and school board election on the ballot.
In the local area, expanded voting through the mail and in person attracted thousands of voters.
According to Albemarle County elections officials, 13,556 voters had already performed their civic duty Monday afternoon by early voting while 4,989 have mailed in their official ballots.
The county has 77,246 active voters and 4,492 inactive voters – those who may have moved from the state or a previous residence but have not changed an address or reregistered to vote, for a total of 81,738 registered voters, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.
In Charlottesville, 4,543 voters cast early ballots as of Monday with 1,312 mail-in ballots being received. The mail-in number does not include those who dropped their ballot at drop-box locations, which could another 1,500 ballots to that count, officials said.
The state elections department shows 30,845 active registered voters in the city with 2,704 inactive for a total 33,549 registered voters.
“A voter who appears to have moved from their residence of registration, but has not responded to a request to confirm their residence, is maintained on the voter lists as inactive through the next two federal elections,” the state elections department states on its website.
“Inactive voters are eligible to vote if they re-register, or if they appear at the polls, or apply to vote absentee, and confirm that they have not moved, or have moved, but within the same locality and congressional district.”
Inactive voters are removed from the rolls after two federal elections have passed, the website states.
Across the state, communities will have polling places open beginning at 6 a.m. and closing at 7 p.m.. Anyone in line at 7 p.m. when the polls close will be allowed to vote, according to state law.