Editorial – An election that merits your voice

Published 6:39 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Early voting for the 2022 election is in full swing, with brisk participation to date in Isle of Wight and Surry.

At the end of last week, 2,483 people had cast ballots in Isle of Wight. That equates to 81.1 per 1,000 registered voters and puts Isle of Wight way ahead of Hampton Roads (57.2) and Virginia (58.5). Surry, where 487 ballots had been cast, had an even higher rate of 86.6 per 1,000 registered voters.

Though the final turnout percentage is all that matters ultimately, we’re encouraged that area voters are setting the pace in an important election.

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Locally, much is at stake. Two seats on the Isle of Wight County School Board will determine the direction of the community’s public schools for at least the next four years. The incumbents and the challengers have very different visions and philosophies about public education. Voters should carefully study the positions of each candidate and make their voices heard at the ballot box.

Five candidates are vying for four seats on the Smithfield Town Council. The candidates have very different visions of Smithfield’s future, especially as it relates to growth and development.

In neighboring Surry, it’s control of the Board of Supervisors that’s at stake in a community grappling with the best strategies for improving its lagging economic fortunes.

Even if local politics isn’t your thing, Isle of Wight voters should have a say in one of the nation’s most consequential congressional races.

U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., the incumbent in the 2nd Congressional District, is in a heated race with state Sen. Jen Kiggans, R-Virginia Beach, a fascinating race pitting two former Naval commanders who see their country and the world very differently.

The recently redrawn, Tidewater-centric 2nd District is a change for Isle of Wight voters, who’ve been part of the Peninsula-oriented 3rd Congressional District, represented by U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, for the past decade. That district was solidly Democratic, while the new 2nd District is among the handful of battleground districts nationwide that determine which party controls the House of Representatives starting in 2023. Put simply, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

And the race couldn’t be tighter. A new poll released last week by the Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University showed the race to be a dead heat: Luria and Kiggans are tied among likely voters at 45%, with 8% still undecided.

Whether you vote early or on Nov. 8, we hope you do so. We’re partial to early voting, which helps you avoid long lines on Election Day and also makes that day smoother for poll workers.