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Results coming in for local elections across Virginia

Governor Ralph Northam announced earlier this week, intentions to postpone May's scheduled municipal elections to November.
Governor Ralph Northam announced earlier this week, intentions to postpone May's scheduled municipal elections to November.(WHSV)
Published: May. 19, 2020 at 3:06 PM EDT
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Many people around the Shenandoah Valley and across Virginia cast their ballots on Tuesday or voted absentee ahead of time for local elections, deciding the future of various city councils, town councils and school boards, plus charter changes in some areas.

Results

Voting came to an end at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, which also marked the deadline to submit absentee ballots.

Now begins the work of election officials around the state as they tally the results and report them, by precinct, to the Virginia Department of Elections.

As our local election results, you can find the latest results on this website at

.

The 2-week delay of May's elections

The May 19 local elections come just a few days after Virginia moved into Phase 1 of Governor Ralph Northam's 'Forward Virginia' reopening plan, but were originally scheduled for two weeks earlier, on May 5.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Northam asked the General Assembly to delay local elections from May to November, but lawmakers in the Senate

.

So, instead, Gov. Northam used the Virginia governor's statutory authority to

, from May 5 to May 19, to provide additional time for restrictions to begin to ease amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

That was done through

.

“Virginians should never have to choose between casting a ballot and risking their health,” said Governor Northam. “I am grateful to the House of Delegates for taking action to move our upcoming elections, but unfortunately the Senate failed to make the same commonsense decision. While we strongly encourage every Virginian who can vote by mail to do so, we will also take every necessary step to conduct these elections in a way that ensures in-person voting is done safely and responsibly.”

A push for absentee voting by mail

In the weeks leading up to the election day, Northam and many state officials strongly encouraged Virginians to cast absentee ballots if at all possible, saying it was the safest way to cast a vote and issuing reminders that the method is secure.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot was

, so if you did not request to vote absentee, it's too late now.

But if you requested an absentee ballot, you have until the closure of registrar's offices on Election Day to submit your ballot, so there's still time.

As of Monday, in Staunton, leaders said they received more than 3,300 requests for absentee ballots – compared to 55 in the last city council election.

While

, absentee ballots for May's local elections still require the normal witness signatures, so keep that in mind.

In-person voting

Otherwise, for in-person voting, polling places are open from 6 a.n. to 7 p.m., with lots of measures for social distancing and increased sanitation in place. Voters also strongly encouraged to wear masks to their polling place. You can find Election Day information from the Virginia Department of Elections

.

In some areas, you may see members of Virginia's medical reserve corps staffing polling places, many of which are frequently staffed by volunteers amid the senior population most vulnerable to COVID-19.

The races in the Shenandoah Valley

For our area, voters will be choosing members of the Staunton City Council and Staunton School Board, members of the Waynesboro City Council and Waynesboro School Board, as well as members of town council in Mount Jackson, New Market, Edinburg, Woodstock, Strasburg, and Toms Brook, in addition to mayors for some of those areas as well.

You'll be able to find the latest local election results

as they come in Tuesday evening.

The June primary elections remain postponed to June 23 rather than June 9.

What to know about preventing the virus

Most people don't suffer much from COVID-19, but it can cause severe illness in the elderly and people with existing health problems.

It spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Those droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract the virus by touching those objects or surfaces and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can cause mild to more severe respiratory illness. In a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can cause death, particularly among those who are older or who have chronic medical conditions. Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

To lower the risk of respiratory germ spread, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages the following effective behaviors:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• Stay home when you are sick.

• Avoid contact with sick people.

• Avoid non-essential travel.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent or antiviral medication to treat COVID-19. The best way to avoid illness is preventing exposure, which is why governments around the world have implemented Stay at Home orders.

For the latest factual information on COVID-19, you're encouraged to check both the

and the

.

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