Why Richmond voters can only choose Republicans this primary election

Posted at 9:44 AM, Jun 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-12 12:34:38-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- It's Primary Election Day in Virginia, and some voters have reached out to WTVR CBS 6 upset and confused as to why they could only vote for a Republican candidate.

"When I walked inside the voting precinct they informed me that, let me give you some information, we only have Republicans on the ballot. I Immediately said, 'oh no I’m not voting'," Richmonder Valerie Coley said.

Unlike the General Election in November, where the winner represents their district in the Virginia General Assembly or U.S. Congress, the winner of Tuesday's primary election only becomes their party's representative in the upcoming general election.

Before casting a ballot, Virginia voters in the primary election must declare whether they want a Republican or Democratic ballot.

Voters then choose which candidate from that specific party they want to represent that party in November's general election.

Because no Democrats are contesting incumbents Rep. Donald McEachin (D - 4th District) and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D- Virginia), those candidates have already won their party's nominations.

Therefore, no Democratic ballot available in the 4th Congressional District - which encompasses the City of Richmond, eastern Henrico County, and points to the south and east.

"This city is entirely in the 4th Congressional District and that was changed a couple years ago," Richmond General Registrar Kirk Showalter said. "You’ll remember the lawsuit that determined the Congressional district had been gerrymandered."

It is a different story in western counties, where voters must choose between a Republican and Democratic ballot.

"Henrico and Chesterfield are having both Republican and Democratic primaries, and that’s what’s confusing a lot of people," Showalter said. "That and the fact that [Richmond] is no longer in the seventh congressional district."

Democrats Abigail Spanberger and Dan Ward are facing off in the 7th U.S. House District race. The winner will face incumbent Rep. Dave Brat (R - 7th District).

Additionally, Republican voters across Virginia must decide which candidate will face Democratic incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine. Republican voters are choosing between Corey Stewart, Del. Nick Freitas, and E.W. Jackson.

The polls remain opened until 7 p.m.

Click here to learn more about the candidates.

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