To the polls! Virginians to decide on candidates, ballot questions

The nation heads to the polls Tuesday. File image. The nation heads to the polls Tuesday. File image.

Voters in Virginia and across the nation head to the polls Tuesday to put an end to what has to be the longest campaign season in human history.

Here in Virginia’s 5th, voters are making their selections for U.S. Congressman (a choice between Republican incumbent Robert Hurt and Democratic challenger General John Douglass), U.S. Senator (either former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine or former Virginia Governor George Allen), and president (I’m going to go ahead and assume you know about that one).

Besides the candidates, we’ve got two referendums (referenda? My Latin comes back to haunt me, ineffectually, at moments like this) on the ballot.

Question 1 is whether to amend the Virginia Constitution to further limit government use of eminent domain, the state’s power to seize private property for public use. Specifically, it would ban the use of eminent domain for the use of private enterprise, job creation, tax revenues, or economic development generally.

The eminent domain question, championed by Virginia Attorney General and 2013 gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli in the wake of a controversial Connecticut court case that handed states the right to scale back their own powers to take land, has sparked an interesting dialogue in the Old Dominion, especially among Democrats.

Some, like Creigh Deeds (D-Bath County), are in favor, citing cases where the landowners have had to fight to get fair prices for their properties; others, like David Toscano (D-Charlottesville and the Virginia General Assembly’s House Minority Leader), are urging caution, saying they want to see how other states are handling the issue before adjusting the Constitution. Graham Moomaw of the Daily Progress has a very thorough take here.

The other ballot question is much less spicy and would allow the state legislature to delay the start of its spring veto session by up to a week, ostensibly to prevent it from starting on a holiday like Passover or Easter.

If you’re unsure of where to vote tomorrow, a city list and map of precincts is here, and the county’s precinct and district breakdown is here. And stay with us tomorrow evening as the results trickle in. I can’t promise we’ll be as entertaining as Wolf Blitzer interviewing holograms, but it should still be fun.

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