RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - With 99 delegates up for grabs in the Commonwealth, Virginia is definitely one to watch. So your vote matters, but before you get to your polling place, here’s everything you need to know.
Make sure you’re actually registered - you can do that on the Board of Elections website. While you’re there, check where you’re voting.
“Even if you’ve moved, you must vote in the precinct to which you’re already registered. You can’t show up to your new precinct and vote. You have to vote where you’re currently registered,” said Kirk Showalter, Richmond General Registrar.
Next, bring your photo ID. Your driver’s license, a passport, even a workplace ID are all acceptable.
You can vote from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., but if you are in line at 7, don’t leave, you can still cast your ballot.
In Virginia, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat, Republican or any other party, anyone can vote Tuesday as it’s an open primary.
“In Virginia, any registered voter can vote in a primary. We don’t have party registration, so you’re free to vote in the primary if you so choose,” said Showalter.
“There’s misinformation on Facebook that said if you don’t vote in the primary, then you won’t be able to vote in the general election. The only reason you wouldn’t get to vote in the general election is if you’re not registered or you don’t show up on Election Day,” said Ana Mason of the League of Women Voters.
When you get to the polls, your ballot will have 14 candidates, but know your candidates and do your research before you head to the polls. Several candidates suspended their campaigns, including Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer.
"We understand that some are no longer running for the nomination, but they still are on Virginia's," said Showalter.
Currently, only five candidates are still vying for the nomination - Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Tulsi Gabbard, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Virginia has 99 delegates up for grabs - the fourth most of any state voting on Tuesday.
“Virginia shows itself to be out in front of where the nation is shifting over and over,” said Deirdre Condit, an associate professor of political science at Virginia Commonwealth University. “Virginia has a recent history of going from red, to sort of light purple, to light blue, to a very strong blue, on the strength of Northern Virginia and the Richmond area. I think Virginia is going to be a very leading state and the country is going to follow what Virginia does.”
She expects the primary to be a two-man race between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.
"The deep urban, college areas will go strongly for Bernie Sanders, but around those urban centers, you have the suburbs. Those are the areas where we’ve really seen a change in Virginia, from red communities to blue communities. Those are the working moms, and soccer moms, who pulled folks like Abigail Spanberger across the margin making those seats blue,” said Condit.
She’s talking about places like Chesterfield, where a moderate like Biden will play well. Pair that with his big win in South Carolina, and he could see increased support in all of the southern states.
“How that turnout works, and who turns out will have a huge impact,” says Condit.
Super Tuesday also marks the first time Mike Bloomberg will appear on any ballot. He’s spent a lot of time and money in Virginia and he’s been competitive in recent polls.
But Condit believes, Biden’s win in South Carolina stops Bloomberg’s momentum and Biden wins Virginia.
No matter what happens, how Virginia trends - progressive or moderate - it could be a sign of what’s to come.
“The world is at an inflection point and I think it will be interesting to see how Virginians decide to speak back to their government on what they want,” says Condit.
“It’s our right. It’s our privilege. It’s our honor. Get out there and do it," Mason added.
To see a list of candidates and their platforms, click here.
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