The Collegian
Thursday, February 29, 2024

Who's on your ballot? Informed voting for the UR community

University of Richmond students voting as Virginia residents will vote in either Richmond City or Henrico County. Here is what they can expect on their ballot. 

UR students housed in dorms or in University Forest Apartments 1200-2107 live in Richmond City and can vote at the Jepson Alumni Center on Election Day. 

UR students voting as residents of Richmond City can expect to see three choices on their ballot: Del. Betsy Carr, Sen. Lamont Bagby, and the Richmond City Casino Referendum. 

Carr, a Democrat, is running uncontested for the Virginia House of Delegates, District 78. Carr has served in the House since 2010, according to the Virginia Public Access Project

Carr served on the Richmond City School Board from 2006-2010 representing the fifth district. She currently serves on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission and Commission to Honor Women in Virginia, according to her candidate website

“Betsy is committed to a progressive Virginia,” according to her website.

Carr prioritizes reproductive freedom, improves access to healthcare, and supports universal childcare. Carr has introduced affordable housing legislation, supports common sense gun reform and investing in Richmond public schools and historically Black colleges and universities, and has worked to pass legislation to combat climate change. 

Bagby, a Democrat, is running unopposed for The Senate of Virginia, District 4. Bagby served in the House from 2015-2023, according to VPAP

Bagby is running for the Senate to “stand up to Governor Youngkin’s regressive intent on taking us backwards,” according to his candidate website. Bagby is a former Henrico County School Board member and the current Chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. 

Bagby supports investing in public education, securing women’s fundamental reproductive rights, common sense gun reform and universal childcare, according to his website. Bagby has received endorsements from Planned Parenthood and the Virginia Education Association. 

Senior Trevin Stevens, a political science major, explained that the absence of Republican candidates on the ballot can decrease voting rates and go against our nation's democracy. 

“It’s a little disheartening, I guess, to not have options within the City of Richmond,” he said. 

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The ballot will also allow citizens to vote on the Richmond City Casino Referendum.

According to VOTE411, the question that will appear on the ballot is as follows: “Shall casino gaming be permitted at a casino gaming establishment in the City of Richmond, Virginia, at 2001 Walmsley Boulevard and 4700 Trenton Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23234 as may be approved by the Virginia Lottery Board?”. 

A proposed casino referendum was rejected by Virginia voters in 2021, according to AP News. The developers proposed a new project that would open 1,300 jobs and would feature a hotel, concert venue, outdoor park, and various dining options. 

Senior Associate Director of Student Engagement Blake Stack explained that all 9 districts of Richmond City can vote on the referendum, which only affects one of the nine districts. “I think, as citizens, we need to be responsive as best we can to people in that community and try to listen and hear what they want,” Stack said. 

Students housed in UFAs 100-1107 or 55-58 Gateway Village apartments live in Henrico County and can vote off-campus at Tuckahoe Elementary School. 

UR students residing in Henrico County can expect to see Del. Rodney Willet and Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg on the ballot. 

Willet, a Democrat, is running against Republican Riley Shaia for the House District 58. Willet has served in the House since 2020, according to VPAP

Willet was recognized by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce as a freshman legislator in 2020 and currently serves on the House Committees on Finance, Health Welfare and Institutions and Agriculture, Chesapeake Bay, and Natural Resources, according to his candidate website.  

Willet supports affordable healthcare, investing in mental health and addiction treatment and a woman’s right to choose, according to his website. He also works with the General Assembly to introduce renewable energy sources, believes in common sense gun safety and supports laws that protect and promote inclusivity. 

VanValkenbrug, ‘04, is a Democrat running against Republican Siobhan Dunnavant for Senate District 16. VanValkenburg has served in the House of Delegates since 2018, according to VPAP

VanValkenburg is a teacher at Glen Allen High School and prioritizes investing in education, increasing accountability in campaign finance and promoting economic growth, according to his candidate website. He also supports lowering prescription drug costs, consistently votes for gun safety legislation and is the only pro-choice candidate in District 16. 

Other races on the Henrico County ballot are Henrico County Clerk of Court, Commonwealth's Attorney, County Sheriff, Soil and Water Conservation District Director, Tuckahoe District Board of Supervisors Member, and Tuckahoe District School Board Member. 

Those who are interested in voting as Virginia residents but are not registered can visit the Center for Civic Engagement for voting advising on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. and on Wednesday and Fridays from 1:30-2:30 p.m., according to the CCE Voting Guide

Election Day is on Nov. 7 and polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.  

“I think everyone should vote. I mean, it is our civic duty,” Stevens said. “You’re making decisions on the people that are going to dictate your future in terms of the city, in terms of the state, in terms of the country,” he said. 

Contact city and state writer Ava Humphries at ava.humphries@richmond.edu. 

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