Election 2019: Steady traffic at polls as local, state races headline ballots

By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: November 5, 2019 | 3:44 p.m. 


VIRGINIA – Many precincts across Southside Virginia reported steady foot traffic from voters throughout the day as the Commonwealth heads to the polls to elect General Assembly representatives along with a slew of local offices.

In Surry, voters head to the polls with the task of selecting several members of both the county board of supervisors and school board. While Bacon’s Castle District supervisor Judy Lyttle and Claremont District candidate Robert Elliott, Jr. face no challengers on the ballot, a majority of the board’s five seats see their incumbents facing off against an opponent. In the Carsley District, incumbent Kenneth Holmes sees Felicia Baliey challenging the longtime supervisor, current supervisors chairman Michael Drewry is facing opposition from challenger Melvin Lyttle, Jr. in the Claremont District, and Timothy Calhoun is seeking to unseat Surry District supervisor John Seward.

As for the school board, Marion Wilkins is facing Sue Anne Fibish in the Carsley District, E. Faye Perkins and Lorraine Davis are both seeking election to the Dendron District seat and Valencia Williams is challenging longtime school board member Harold Jones for the board’s Surry District seat.

Another race that is being watched closely in Surry is the battle for Sheriff as incumbent Carlos Turner faces a challenge from Roderick Barbee. This is the first re-election effort for Turner since his election to the job in 2015 where he earned 48 percent of the vote, defeating closest challenger Michael Bailey, who received nearly 28 percent of the vote, according to election records.

Alongside local races, voters in the county will make their voices known in state-level races for the General Assembly as, depending on where their voting precinct is, they cast ballots in the 3rd Senate District race between Tom Norment, Jr. (R) and Herbert Jones, Jr. (D), and 64th House District as incumbent Emily Brewer seeks re-election in the face of challenge from Michele Joyce, a democrat.

In neighboring Sussex, similar foot traffic is expected at the county’s dozen polling places as calm weather and local races serve to draw voters to the polls.

All of the county’s constitutional officers, which includes the sheriff, treasurer, commissioner of the revenue, and commonwealth’s attorney, are all running unopposed on the ballot but, similar to Surry, a majority of the county’s seats on the board of supervisors are contested.

In the Courthouse District, longtime supervisor Eric Fly faces a challenge from Daryl Boykins, while current Stony Creek District representative Keith Blowe is seeking re-election as Debbie Parham Jones serves as his opponent for the seat. In the Waverly District, A.G. Futrell is vying for reelection as Marian Johnson seeks to be named to the seat by local voters while John Stringfield, the longtime supervisor in the Wakefield District faces a challenge from Wayne Jones.

According to election records, current supervisors Susan Seward and Rufus Tyler are running for re-election unopposed, along with the county’s tiebreaker, Steve White.

County voters will also have to decide how they feel about a proposal to implement a county meals tax. At the polls, voters were presented the following ballot question:

For the purposes of funding capital projects which further the public safety and public education needs of Sussex County and the Sussex County Public Schools, shall the County of Sussex, Virginia be authorized to levy a tax on prepared food and beverages, otherwise known as a meals tax, in the County of Sussex, Virginia at the rate of four percent (4%) of the amount charged for the prepared food and beverages? This tax would be imposed in addition to the current general retail sales and use taxes collected on all purchases. Thus, if this food and beverage tax is adopted and the maximum rate of 4% is imposed, then the total tax on all prepared food and beverages will be 9.3%.

In Sussex, there are fewer state-level races than in neighboring Surry as the race many are watching is in the 75th House District as Roslyn Tyler (D) faces a challenge from Otto Wachsmann (R) as both parties jockey to try and attain a majority within both chambers of the General Assembly.

According to election records, Tyler was elected in 2005 following the footsteps of fellow democrat James Councill, Jr. She faced her first challenge in 2011 against Republican Alvin Peschke and later in 2013. During both races, Tyler carried over 60 percent of the vote. The challenge from Wachsmann in this year’s election is the first she has faced since 2013.

Currently available historical election data, dating back to the late 1940s shows the 75th House District has remained in the hands of democrats throughout that time.

As for the 18th Senate District, incumbent Louise Lucas is seeking re-election unopposed.


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