Democrats to hold primary

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By John Barnhart

    Democrats will hold a primary to select candidates for lieutenant governor and attorney general.  The primary, which is open to all registered voters, will be held on June 11 with polls opening at 6 a.m. and closing at 7 p.m. People wishing to vote in this primary, which is tax-payer funded, should go to their regular polling place. The deadline for voting by absentee ballot is June 8.
    If you aren’t registered to vote, there is still time. The cut-off date for registering is May 20.
    Ralph S. Northam and Aneesh Chopra are vying for the Democrats’ nod for lieutenant governor. Mark R. Herring and Justin E. Fairfax are seeking the Democrats’ nod for attorney general.
    Republicans are nominating their candidates for these offices via a convention process.
    Primaries are expensive for local registrars. Randi Herrick, the city registrar, said this primary will cost the city at least $3,000. Barbara Gunter, the county registrar, said it will cost the county at least $30,000. Herrick said that there have been attempts to introduce bills in the General Assembly to require political parties to pick up the tab for primaries, but these efforts have failed.
    This is because a primary has the same requirements as a regular election. Gunter said that they are required to have three workers at each precinct. Along with the cost of training poll workers, they also have the cost of programming voting machines. Gunter said they always have at least two machines at each precinct in order to provide redundancy if one machine fails.
    City residents voting on June 11 will be taking part in an historic primary. It’s the very last election that the city’s registrar will handle. When the city reverts to a town on July 1, it will no longer have a separate voter registrar because it will then be part of Bedford County.