What you need to know about the 2020 ballot questions in Virginia

Posted at 9:55 AM, Oct 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-27 09:55:34-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- In addition to all the candidates on the 2020 ballot, there are a few amendments up for a vote.

Question one asks Virginia voters if they would like to establish a bipartisan redistricting commission to draw Virginia congressional and legislative district lines.

This amendment comes, as the state prepares to redraw the lines following the 2020 census.

The commission would be made up of eight lawmakers, with an equal amount of Republicans and Democrats.

Eight citizens, selected from a list submitted by party leaders in the General Assembly, would also serve on the commission.

If passed, the commission would be put in the state's constitution.

Those in favor believe the amendment would be able to stop the political party in power from drawing the lines that favor their party - a term known as gerrymandering.

"You can't have a constitutional amendment in 2021 other than the one that's pending, which is an improvement over the existing system," Booby Vassir, Co-chair of Fair Maps Virginia, said.

However, those opposed to the amendment said it does not include clear speech that outlaws gerrymandering against people of color and that involving party leaders would turn the commission political.

"This amendment does nothing to that," Del. Lamont Bagby (D - Richmond) said. "This amendment is simply a shiny car with a bad engine. I understand that people may vote for it because they don't know what they're for."

Question two involves Virginia veterans.

On your ballot you will see the following: Should an automobile or pickup truck that is owned by or for a veteran of the United States Armed Forces of the Virginia National Guard, who has a 100 percent service-connected, permanent and total disability be free from state and local taxation?

Right now, current law states the Constitution of Virginia requires all property taxed. However, there are certain types of property that the Constitution specifically says is not subject to taxation.

This amendment would add one vehicle owned by or for a veteran to that list.

Dr. Soji Akomolafe, a political science professor at Norfolk State University, said this question would give voters the opportunity to decide whether or not a disabled veteran should be exempt from paying property taxes on their vehicles.

If voters vote no, they would continue to pay. But if they vote yes, "You're saying, 'We appreciate your service, and I don't think you should pay any tax on this," said Akomolafe

Early voting ends October 31. Check your local registrar's operating hours.

For more information on the proposed amendments on the 2020 election ballot click here.

Key Dates and Deadlines in Virginia

Friday, Sept. 18: Early, In-Person Voting Begins
Thursday, Oct. 15: Voter Registration Deadline
Friday, Oct. 23: Request Absentee/Mail-In Ballot Deadline
Saturday, Oct. 31: Early, In-Person Voting Ends
Tuesday, Nov. 3 is Election Day: In-Person Voting
Tuesday, Nov. 3: Absentee/Mail-In Postmark by Date
Friday, Nov. 6: Absentee/Mail-In Delivered By Date