Flawed candidates, important election

Published 10:56 am Saturday, September 28, 2013

Considering the flawed candidates in the top state races, it might be hard to work up a lot of enthusiasm for the coming November elections. Polls continue to show Virginians are bitterly disenchanted with candidates who will appear at the top of the ballot.

Gubernatorial candidates Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, and Ken Cuccinelli, the sitting Republican Attorney General, have done more to turn voters off than anyone in recent memory. There is a growing consensus that this election will draw only die-hard party supporters, while moderates of all persuasions avoid the polls and count the minutes until political ads disappear from the airwaves.

But elections are important, and even without a national race on the ballot, there is ample reason for voters to make themselves heard this year. Setting aside the fact that one of two unpopular candidates will in all likelihood be selected for the commonwealth’s top executive position, there are also choices to be made at the state level for lieutenant governor and attorney general.

Sadly, those contests have been compromised by the distaste voters seem to have developed for the up-ticket gubernatorial contest, and most Virginians seem unlikely to do the research needed to choose a candidate in either the lieutenant governor’s or the attorney general’s race if they’re uninterested in voting for one of the gubernatorial candidates.

The deadline to register to vote in Virginia for the Nov. 5 election is Oct. 15. Residents are encouraged to check their registration status and polling place on the State Board of Elections website or by calling Southampton County’s voter registrar’s office at 653-9280. In Franklin, the number is 562-8545, and in Isle of Wight county 365-6230.

Absentee applications, which are available at the voter registrar’s offices, or online at www.sbe.virginia.gov, must be mailed or faxed into the general registrar’s office at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29. Absentee applications may be completed in person at the general registrar’s office no later than Nov. 2.

This election might not be one most folks will want to remember come Nov. 6, but it is no less important for its flawed nature. Take the time to get to know the candidates — and watch these pages for more information about them in the weeks to come — and be sure to register by the deadline. And on Nov. 5, vote.