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Voting Guide 2021: Important dates, who's on the ballot, and how to vote in Virginia and North Carolina

Here's the latest information about the upcoming November elections in Hampton Roads and northeastern North Carolina.

NORFOLK, Va. — The general election is on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Virginia is seeing races for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. Additionally, all House of Delegates seats are up for election, and localities also have races on the ballot.

There is no statewide election in North Carolina this go-round, but there are still several municipal elections.

Important Dates to Know

The 2021 General Election is on Tuesday, Nov. 2. The deadline to register to vote has passed for both Virginia and North Carolina. Click here to check your voter status.

To find your polling location in Virginia, click here.

If you're in North Carolina, you can search for your polling place here.

In-Person Early Voting

Early voting is currently underway until Oct. 30 in Virginia.

The times of operation for voting vary depending on where voters live. People who plan to vote in person must show a proper form of ID, such as a driver’s license, to cast their ballots in Virginia.

However, new state law allows Virginians to also use a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government documents with the voter’s name and address.

RELATED: VERIFY: Here are acceptable forms of ID to vote in Virginia

Voting by mail

Virginia voters must request a ballot online from the Virginia Department of Elections. Do not expect to just get a ballot in the mail. Click here to apply online to vote by mail.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is October 22 at 5 p.m. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Election Day.

Voters may also cast their ballots in person on Election Day.

North Carolina

In-person early voting for North Carolina's municipal elections is also underway until Oct. 30, while the deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 26.

Absentee ballots must be returned by 5 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 2. Mailed-in ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 2 and have to be received in the mail no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 5.

Early voting sites may have different schedules, which can be found on the North Carolina State Board of Elections website.

Important websites

Both Virginia and North Carolina have set up online portals meant to help you find what's on your ballot and where to go to vote:

VIRGINIA: Vote With Confidence
NORTH CAROLINA: 2021 Municipal Voter Tool

Candidate Profile: Virginia Governor

The race for Virginia’s governor is a close one between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin.

The latest poll from The Wason Center at Christopher Newport University shows a thin margin with McAuliffe in the lead and Youngkin close behind.

There are a lot of issues on the table, so let’s look at their stances on three big ones.

The COVID-19 pandemic 

We are still in the middle of a pandemic that’s claimed the lives of more than 13,000 people in Virginia. Health experts agree vaccines are our best chance to fight the spread and save lives.

McAuliffe supports vaccine mandates. A spokesperson noted he has "called on employers, hospitals, schools, and nursing homes to mandate vaccines for their employees."

Youngkin supports the COVID-19 vaccines, and is vaccinated himself, but doesn’t think they should be required. He said, “...individuals should be allowed to make that decision on their own.”

The economy 

As small businesses work to rebound after the pandemic, both candidates have their own plans to boost the economy.

McAuliffe called for more lending programs to help small businesses and said he will recruit large corporations to bring in jobs. A spokesperson said McAuliffe has “the record and experience” in lifting up the state’s economy.

Youngkin also wants to attract jobs and start-up businesses and called for a year-long tax holiday for small businesses with less than $250,000 in net income. "Those businesses deserve a chance to get back on their feet as we come out of this pandemic, because they need to get going," Youngkin said.

Abortion

Polls show the majority of Americans support legal abortion, but it remains a divisive issue.

McAuliffe is pro-choice and has said he will be a “brick wall” against any legislation that limits abortion.

A spokesperson said McAuliffe will stand "with the overwhelming majority of Virginians who believe that the government should not prevent a woman from making her own healthcare decisions." 

Youngkin is pro-life but said he supports some exemptions.

"I believe in exceptions in the case of rape and incest and when the life of the mother is in jeopardy," Youngkin said.

Candidate Profile: Attorney General

While the contest for governor is getting the lion's share of attention, there are other important races taking place.

Virginia's attorney general provides legal advice and representation for all state agencies.

Democrat Mark Herring has held the position since January 2014, having been elected twice.

Republican Jason Miyares was elected to represent Virginia Beach's 82nd District House of Delegates seat in 2015. The former Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach would be the first Virginia attorney general in 225 years to be the child of an immigrant, according to Miyares' website.

In a debate last week, Miyares attacked Herring for the actions of the state's parole board, while Herring said Miyares fundamentally misunderstands the duties of the office. Herring said his office has nothing to do with parole board decisions, and he cited a fact-check article from Politifact that rated Miyares' attacks as false.

On his campaign website, Miyares lists his top three issues: to punish criminals and protect victims, to recreate a pro-business Virginia, and to stand with police.

Over on Herring's campaign website, he lists his priorities as promoting economic opportunity, fighting for justice and equality for all Virginians, and defending women's rights.

In the most recent Christopher Newport University Wason Center for Civic Leadership poll published Oct. 8, Herring led Miyares, 49% to 43%, with 7% undecided.

Dr. Soji Akomolafe, the chairman of the Political Science Department at Norfolk State University, said both candidates have strongly appealed to their bases, and the race will be decided by independents.

"They have satisfied their bases respectively, so the  AG election will be decided in the middle," he said. “That's a very good one to watch."

Candidate Profile: Lt. Governor

Virginia's lieutenant governor is in the line of succession and would take over if the governor can't perform his or her duties. That person is also president of the Senate, runs the floor sessions, and is someone who could be the tie-breaking vote over controversial issues.

Two women of color are on the ballot to be Virginia's next lieutenant governor: Republican Winsome Sears is facing off against Democrat Hala Ayala.

No matter who is elected, she will make history being the first woman to serve in that role.

Ayala, a cybersecurity specialist, currently represents Prince William County in the Virginia House of Delegates. On her website, Ayala's top three issues are to tackle gun violence, provide quality affordable health care, and strengthen schools.

Sears, a former U.S. Marine, represented Norfolk in the House of Delegates from 2002 to 2004. On her website, Sears' top three issues are to create good-paying jobs, cut costs for families, and open and strengthen schools.

One big area of disagreement between the two candidates is over vaccine mandates.

Earlier this month, Sears publicly refused to say whether she has received the COVID-19 vaccine, and Ayala quickly responded by calling her an "anti-science extremist."  

In the most recent Christopher Newport University Wason Center For Civic Leadership poll published on Oct. 8, Ayala led Sears, 48% to 44% with 8% still undecided.

Dr. Soji Akomolafe is chairman of the Political Science Department at Norfolk State University. He said for the candidates, this isn't really about wanting the number two job. It's about wanting the number one job.

"And they wait patiently for when these four years are going to be over, and then, it's going to be their turn to run for governor," he said.

Other Races

In addition to the "big three" statewide races in Virginia, every House of Delegates district is up for election, as are numerous municipal races and ballot questions for local jurisdictions.

Election Results

On Election Day, once the polls have closed you can find live results as they come in for Virginia and North Carolina right here on 13NewsNow.com.