Commentary, Local Commentary, National Commentary

Delegate Kaye Kory’s Richmond Report

Today is Wednesday, Nov.9th, the day after midterm election day, and I cannot ignore the elephant in the room — no partisan reference intended!

So, let’s talk about the elephant:

There were 6,037,832 Virginians registered to vote as of 9/1/22. That number is almost 60,000 more voters registered than in 2020; and almost double the number registered in 2019. In spite of a record number of technological screw-ups in the voter registration process by the Youngkin administration, more Virginians were registered to vote two months prior to Election Day than in 2020. In 2020 75 percent of those registered voted in the election. While the number is not yet tallied, I firmly believe that we beat that percentage this year. Our General Assembly has made it easier to vote by declaring Election Day a holiday, allowing same-day registration and extending early voting. I thought that in-person voting would decline this year because of the extended early voting period, but poll workers at my polling place thought that the small but steady stream of voters was congruent with expectations for a midterm election with only one office on the ballot. The conclusion I must draw is that even with all the talk about election fraud and the casting doubt on election integrity that was pervasive in much of our media and certainly constantly heard from our Governor and his party, most Virginians showed confidence in our election system and voted to uphold it.

Because the majority of media outlets and many of the polls taken told us to expect a red wave, that was the common apprehension. The red wave was a wavelet at best — the results that are in to date show that many voters are satisfied enough to vote for incumbents and not create the usual ‘shellacking’ effect that the party in power usually receives in a midterm election. Apparently, redistricting did not prevent that sentiment from prevailing. Also, notably, election-deniers did not prevail either. This renews my faith in the practicality of Virginia voters’ approach to this election.

Imagine how many people in our Commonwealth could successfully register if we had a functioning voter registration system in place, as the Democratic majority envisioned when approving funds in 2021 for an update of the so-old-it-creaks system we have in place now.

Sadly, the new system has not materialized. It seems as though the Youngkin administration is actually in no hurry to expedite the voter registration process — in no hurry to strengthen our democratic election process. It is downright undemocratic to undermine our democratic election process by starving the Department of Elections and allowing IT ‘glitches’ to interfere with registering folks who want to vote, who deserve to vote and who believe it is their duty to vote.

The midterm election results show our national faith in our democracy and our democratic practices. We should stop the talk that undermines public confidence in elections and move our national conversation to substance. No more Big Lies. Most candidates who promoted the Big Lie lost yesterday — Good Job, Americans! Now that we have made it through the Red Wave threat, let’s get to work focusing on what really matters in our lives. And how about restoring some civility to the process while we’re at it?