To: Interested parties
From: Progress Virginia
Date: November 4, 2015
Much will be made of last night's Virginia election results as everyone tries to project their meaning onto 2016. Here are a few things we think you should keep in mind as you read the tea leaves.
1) Few voters had a real choice in this election.
Less than half of the 140 legislative races on the ballot this year were even contested. Of those, even fewer were competitive, thanks to politicians used the redistricting process to choose their own voters and rig elections. (In case you missed it, House GOP leadership admitted to this very scheme in testimony in federal court earlier this year.)
2) Virginians didn't vote.
Yeah. Voter turnout numbers are still being tallied, but historically somewhere around 30% of Virginia voters participate in off-off-year elections and 2015 appears to follow that trend. The old Byrd machine tool to limit citizen's participation is still alive and well. Treat with extreme skepticism anyone who employs the term "mandate" to describe election results.
3) We know what policies voters support. Will politicians finally get on board?
ProgressVA is a multi-issue advocacy organization dedicated to communicating progressive values across the Commonwealth. We engage citizens around issues of immediate state and local concern. www.ProgressVA.org