The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Staff Ed: State elections are essential

2 min read

Lauren Brumfield | The Blue & Gray Press


Voting in state elections matters as much as voting in national elections, if not more.

As an American citizen, it is considered a civic duty to vote. In national elections, voters in swing states, such as Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan hold the most power compared to voters in non-swing states. This is due to the fact that the electoral college operates on a winner-take-all system, where the winner of the state popular vote wins all of that state’s electoral votes. This means that any votes cast towards the losing candidate in a given state don’t count and the candidate gets zero electoral votes.

Because voters in non-swing states hold little power in the national election, some might feel discouraged from voting at all. Voting still matters. State elections are notoriously close races. For example, current Democratic nominee Joshua Cole lost the bid for the Virginia House of Delegates in 2017 by 73 votes. In state elections, each vote carries a significant amount of weight. The winners of these state elections have the power to shape the everyday functioning of their constituents’ lives. For example, bills passed by the Virginia House of Delegates in 2019 included when the first day of district public schools is, the budget bill, and property tax bills.

One state issue making headlines is the potential ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment by the Virginia House of Delegates. The ERA, which forbids lawmakers from denying rights on the basis of sex, was killed by House Republicans earlier this year by a slim margin. If Democrats flip the House, the ERA will likely be ratified, making Virginia the 38th state to do so and will allow the ERA to become a constitutional amendment.

Your single vote can change the course of legislative history in Virginia, so don’t forget to register by October 15 and vote on November 5.