Preparing to cast your vote this Election Day

Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 10:45 PM EDT
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Election Day is approaching and it can bring feelings of unease to some people as they head to the polls to cast their ballots.

Dr. Bobbi Gentry, an Associate Professor of Political Science at Bridgewater College, suggests taking a look at your sample ballot ahead of time, as well as putting the time in to learn about all the candidates.

“You can often look up local elections on social media or some of them do have their own websites. Doing the research is one way to feel more confident in the election,” Dr. Gentry said.

Inflation, the economy, and abortion are top issues on the minds of voters this year, Dr. Gentry said. The school board elections are playing a big role, too, as issues like the rights of transgender and non-binary students and school curriculum are hot topics.

“Those two areas are areas that people are thinking about and have come to the forefront really in this past year because of the state Department of Education decisions. I think that these are also issues people specifically in the Valley and in Virginia are thinking about,” Dr. Gentry said.

She reminds voters that elections are safe and secure in Virginia and across the country.

“Virginia and all other states have rules and regulations that protect the ballot, that protect votes, and ensure that who is legally allowed to vote is able to vote,” she said.

In the 2018 midterm elections, the polls saw record-high turnouts from young people. Among 18 to 29-year-olds, voter turnout went from 20% in 2014 to 36% in 2018, the largest percentage point increase for any age group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Dr. Gentry said the BC Votes program has been encouraging students and the greater Bridgewater Community to register to vote and learn about their candidates. Bridgewater College is also working with Bird to offer free scooter rights to the polls on Election Day.

Saturday, Nov. 5 will be your last chance to vote early in-person. If you don’t by then, you will have to go to your polling place on Election Day, which is Tuesday, Nov. 8.