Virginians will decide today whether to continue Republican control of the state’s top offices for another four years when they go to the polls to elect a new governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.
Republican Mark L. Earley faces Democrat Mark R. Warner for the state’s top job; Libertarian William B. Redpath is also on the ballot. The race for lieutenant governor features Democrat Timothy M. Kaine, Republican Jay K. Katzen and Libertarian Gary A. Reams. Democrat A. Donald McEachin is running against Republican Jerry W. Kilgore for attorney general.
Voters also will decide control of the House of Delegates as they fill the 100 newly redrawn districts, based on the 2000 Census. Voters in Arlington will choose new County Board and school board members, and voters in some jurisdictions will be asked to approve bond issues.
The polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Voters will have to show identification or sign an affidavit swearing to their identity.
Acceptable identification includes a state-issued voter-information card, a government-issued license or identification card, Social Security card or an employer-issued photo ID.
In some Maryland jurisdictions, voters will choose local officials. The Maryland polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.
Yesterday, both the Republican and Democratic tickets in Virginia flew around the state to rally supporters one last time.
Mr. Warner, speaking to about 400 folks at Market Square in Alexandria, encouraged his supporters to vote for the entire Democratic ticket.
“After the campaign ends tomorrow, the governing begins, and that means reaching across political lines, reaching across regional lines,” Mr. Warner said. “You’ve got a team up on this stage who will reach out to the changing face of Virginia.”
He was joined by a host of Democratic candidates and elected officials, including U.S. Rep. James P. Moran and former U.S. Sen. Charles S. Robb.
Instead of a rally, Mr. Earley and the Republican ticket visited a technology company in the Fair Lakes section of Fairfax yesterday, meeting with employees and watching a demonstration of the company’s wares. They were joined by U.S. Sens. John W. Warner and George F. Allen, Gov. James S. Gilmore III and Rep. Frank R. Wolf.
Republicans had been using baseball’s New York Yankees as their model for predicting a come-from-behind victory, but after the Yankees lost in the final game of the World Series, Republicans now say they want to emulate the Redskins, who had been counted out by many fans and pundits, but have had a recent winning streak.
Nobody knows how the September 11 attacks will affect the election, but voter turnout is expected to be average to light, based on absentee voting figures.
In 1997, the last governor’s election, fewer than 50 percent of registered voters turned out. In 1993, 61 percent of registered voters turned out, and in 1989, 66 percent voted but both of those were before the “motor-voter” law swelled the voting rolls, so those numbers are not comparable to 1997 or this year.
There are 4,109,242 persons registered to vote today, with 220,524 of those considered inactive voters.