Virginia goes blue

On November 5, 2019, the state of Virginia turned Democratic for the first time in 26 years. Democrats now control both houses in the Virginia General Assembly, flipping two seats in the state Senate and five in the House of Representatives. 

“I think [the election results] were really good, I think the shift for the Democrats is going to be really interesting in the future, and I think the voter turnout was really good,” junior Emery Parker said.

This November, according to the Virginia Department of Elections, the percentage of registered voters that actually voted went up about 13 percent from 2015. This is a jump in voter turnout. 

“I think it was really good that the Virginia legislature flipped blue,” senior Caroline Cunningham, president of the Young Democrats club, said. “I also felt like the results showed a general Democratic wave, and I think that this shows that there’s a good chance of a Democrat being elected in 2020.”

According to WAMU 88.5, both Democrats and Republicans predicted that this election’s results could be a sign for the 2020 presidential election, which made the election more significant. This also increased the national attention that Virginia got during this election cycle. Now that the Democrats hold the state legislature, people are wondering what policies they will implement.

“I’m interested in the ERA [Equal Rights Amendment], so I’m wondering if something similar to that will get passed in Virginia now that [the legislation] is more democratic [regarding the election],” Parker said. 

The Democrats in Virginia have a chance to bring change to the Virginia legislature.

“I know gun reform is something that a lot of Democrats running this election were pushing for, so that’s really what I’m thinking they’re going to push for in terms of policy,” sophomore Tim Sullivan, president of the Young Republicans club said. “Another policy I’m really curious to see how it works out is how the districts are redrawn because the 2020 census is coming up so the lines have to be redrawn. Considering how there has just been a flip in legislative control, I am curious to see how Democrats handle redistricting.”

The census, which happens every 10 years, will count the population of all 50 states and U.S. territories. The count is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Each home will receive a letter to respond to a short questionnaire – either online, by phone, or by mail. According to the United States Census Bureau, 2020 is the first year that people have been able to respond online. 

“I think the likelihood that they will get things done is pretty high, given that the government is democratic,” Cunningham said. “I also think that these [gun] reforms will be a good thing for Virginia, especially given all of the recent shootings.”

This election can have an impact on the students at the school, because some laws will change due to the shift in legislative power in the state.

“I know that APS is changing their calendar next year to try to start before Labor Day, and that is something they can only do when legislature was Democratic because the Republican legislature wanted [school] to start after Labor Day,.” Cunningham said. 

“I feel like [students at the school are paying more attention to elections] than the average person,.” Cunningham said. “I feel like people are really focused on the national elections, however, I do know that after the state election, people were talking about it.” 

Although some opinions on the results of the elections contrasted, students agreed that students should pay attention to state and local elections. 

“I think it’s really important to keep up with the state and local government because everything affects you,.” Parker said. “I think [this election] is a good starting point, especially for Virginia, now that [the Ddemocrats] have the state, it could transfer more towards the whole presidential election.”