Voters in Northern Virginia have a tough time making their voices heard at the state level. The General Assembly in Richmond is controlled largely by downstate legislators, who manipulate committee assignments to marginalize Northern Virginia’s delegates and senators. This makes it harder for us to get legislation passed that we care about, and harder to defeat bills that impose new burdens on us.
Gerrymandering of election districts also means most state races aren’t competitive. Even if you love your delegate, you may not feel it matters much to vote for him or her, when your district has been drawn to include mostly other people who feel the same way you do.
The presidential election is different. Because the popular vote will determine whether Virginia goes “red” or “blue,” every vote in the state matters equally. Whether you vote for President Obama or Governor Romney, your ballot is meaningful. And with Virginia a swing state, you even have a megaphone. The sheer number of voters in Northern Virginia may make us the most important population center in the country for this election.
So if you often feel like a lone voice crying in the wilderness in state races, or if you are frustrated that regardless of how hard you and your neighbors work on an issue, you can’t get it through Richmond, now is your chance to show your power.
This year, Northern Virginia matters. So let’s get out there and vote!