Getting Ready to Vote in November
By Staff Report
Jul 13, 2012, 10:58
For many, July Fourth brought barbecues, fireworks, picnics and a day off from work.
In addition to the festivities, the holiday serves as a reminder of this country’s independence from Great Britain, the signing of the U.S. Constitution and the establishment of a democratic government with leaders elected by the people. One of the fundamental rights granted to United States citizens is the right to vote for those leaders.
Pamela Clark, Hopewell Registar, said regardless of whether an election is for state or local leaders, it is important to vote.
“I think everybody should vote...this is a right,” Clark said.
With the presidential and local elections right around the corner, there are many things to consider before exercising that right.
Before voting, residents should make sure they are properly registered. To vote in the November elections, a voter must be registered 22 days before November 6. Applications can be found online or at local registrar’s offices and libraries and at Department of Motor Vehicles and Armed Forces recruitment offices. Those who are already registered to vote will receive a new voter identification card in the mail in the coming months.
Clark also wants to remind registered voters to have the correct address on file. When the wards were re-districted, Clark said her office sent out over 14,000 new voter registration cards and 3,000 were returned.
“If they haven’t received one this year, stop by the office,” Clark said.
There have been a number of changes to the voting laws in Virginia, effective July 1.
First, without proper identification at the polls, voters can no longer cast an official ballot by signing a sworn statement.
Voters now fill out a provisional ballot and the voter has until noon on the Friday following the election to provide a copy of his or her identification. A copy may be mailed, faxed, emailed or delivered to the electoral board. If the Friday deadline is not met, the vote will not be counted.
The laws passed on July 1 also included changes to the list of proper forms of identification that will be accepted at the polls. Now, a student identification card from a Virginia college or university, utility bill or concealed handgun permit is considered a proper form of identification.
In this year’s local election, four out of the seven Hopewell wards will be on the ballot in the November elections.
In Ward 2, there are six candidates including incumbent Roosevelt Edwards, Jr., Julia Allen, John Holloway, Sr., David Silvestro, and Yolanda Stokes.
In Ward 4, Jasmine Gore, Steve Nugent and Wanda Pisarek are running.
Wayne Walton is running unopposed in Ward 5 and in Ward 6, Brenda Pelham, who is also currently on council, will be running against Randy Davis.
Clark is estimating a 75 to 80 percent voter turnout this year.
For more information on voter requirements, visit the State Board of Elections website at www.sbe.virginia.gov or visit the local registrar’s office located at 309 North 2nd Avenue