Virginia’s March 3 Democratic Presidential Primary is right around the corner. Virginia is one of 14 states holding primaries on March 3, which has been tagged “Super Tuesday, when 40% of the convention delegates will be selected and the fate of many candidates angling for delegates is likely to be decided.
Are you registered to vote or need to update your registration because you’ve moved? Do you plan to vote Absentee? In person? By mail? Here are some dates and deadlines you need to be aware of:
- Last day to register/update to vote – Monday, February 10
- Last day to request an absentee ballot – Tuesday, February 25 (Registrar must receive by 5pm)
- Last day to vote absentee in person – Saturday, February 29 (In-person voting began on 1/16)
So, who will be on the ballot? Well, although a number of candidates have already dropped out (and more likely will), the following candidates met the filing deadline of December 12, had collected 5,000 petition signatures, and will be on the ballot:
Have you decided who you will vote for? If you’re like me, you probably wish you could combine the policies, positions and personalities of several candidates into a single candidate. But, I’m reminded of a favorite maxim often repeated by Dickie Cranwell, former Virginia Delegate and Virginia Democratic Party Chair, “The only perfect candidate I ever saw was the one that stared at me when I looked in the mirror!” We’d all do well to remember that once we have a Democratic nominee, particularly if our favorite or first choice isn’t the nominee.
There are several “interesting” aspects to the upcoming primary. The Democratic Party rules require a proportional allocation of pledged delegates, which are established by congressional district. But, to receive any delegates, a candidate must get at least 15% of the vote in a district. Those not receiving the minimum are excluded, with the delegate pool divided proportionately among those candidates receiving 15% or more. This could lead to some complicated issues if the field of candidates remains large.
Another potential “wrinkle” results from the fact that Virginia’s primaries are “open” elections. Since Virginia voters don’t register by party affiliation, anyone – – Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian, Green, etc. – – can vote in the primary. Ordinarily, this isn’t an issue because both the Democratic and Republican primaries are conducted on the same day and a voter chooses which party’s primary ballot they wish to vote. However, this year, the Republicans have decided to cancel primaries in many states and opt for a state convention. That’s the case in Virginia. Virginia Republicans will hold a state convention in June in lieu of a primary. As a consequence, Republicans have a more significant opportunity to influence the Democratic primary outcome by voting in the Democratic primary. And it’s likely they will vote for the candidate they perceive as the weakest and/or easiest for Trump to beat. With a large number of Democratic candidates, and voter turnout in primaries historically averaging under 20%, there’s an incentive for Republicans to engage in mischief making.