Election Day 2019 is just 32 days away, but it’s never too soon to get prepared to do your civic duty.

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, Virginians will go to the polls to elect a variety of state and local officials. All 100 seats in the House of Delegates and all 40 seats in the state Senate are up for grabs, in addition to a number of local constitutional offices.

Control of the General Assembly hangs in the balance. Republicans currently hold narrow margins in both chambers that Democrats have chipping away at since the 2017 House of Delegates election. Important issues such as gun safety laws, redistricting reform and health care reform hang in the balance depending on which party comes out on top.

Two House districts and one Senate district are being contested. In the 14th House District, incumbent Danny Marshall is trying to vend off a challenge from Eric Stamps for re-election for another 2-year term. In the 16th District, incumbent Les Adams and challenger Dustin Evans are squaring. In the Senate, the 20th District, incumbent Bill Stanley and challenger Sherman Witcher are doing battle. Check out VOTE411.org for nonpartisan election information on the races

There are a few contested local races.

In Henry County, there are only two, with the highest profile having emerged as a 3-way battle for sheriff among 3-term incumbent Lane Perry and two experienced opponents, John Cassell and Jerry Farmer. On the Henry County School Board, Cherie Joyce Whitlow of Collinsville and Shelira D. Morrison of Axton are vying for the member-at-large seat.

But in Patrick County there are three contested seats on the Board of Supervisors. Clyde M. DeLoach is taking on incumbent Karl Von Weiss for the Blue Ridge District, C. Clayton Kendrick Jr. is challenging incumbent W.L. “Lock” Boyce in the Mayor River District, and Keith A. Puckett and Denise Litten Stirewalt are running in the Peters Creek District. Shannon Royall Harrell also is challenging incumbent Ronnie N. Terry for the Blue Ridge District seat on the school board.

Now you know the races and the stakes; here are some important dates, courtesy of the League of Women Voters, to keep in mind:

» Ongoing: Absentee in-person voting is underway at your local Voter Registrar’s Office Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.;

» Oct. 15: Last day to register to vote or change your address or name;

» Saturday, Oct. 26, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Vote absentee in person at the Registrar’s Office;

» Oct. 29: Last day to apply online, by fax or mail for an absentee ballot;

» Saturday, Nov. 2, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Last day to vote absentee in person at the Registrar’s Office;

» Tuesday, Nov. 5: Election Day, polls open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

» Nov. 5, 7 p.m.: Absentee ballots must be received by the Registrar’s Office

» Nov. 8 at noon: Last day to provide the electoral board with a photo ID or information to validate a provisional ballot.

Folks, voting — making your voice heard at the ballot box — is a fundamental duty and responsibility of a citizen of this nation. It’s how we keep our government in check. When we don’t vote, when we find one reason or another not to carry out our civic duty, our democratic republic suffers.

Now, register, educate yourself and vote.

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