Election Day Live Updates: Virginia Turnout Appears High; Result Is Expected to Signal Nation’s Mood
Voters across the country are deciding the outcome of key mayoral races, a tight governor’s race in Virginia and a referendum on policing. The first polls close at 7 p.m. Eastern. Follow along for the latest results and analysis.
Hala Ayala, pictured, is running against Winsome Sears to be Virginia’s lieutenant governor. The position has never before been held by a woman.Credit…Cliff Owen/Associated Press
Along with the governor’s contest, Virginians on Tuesday will separately choose a lieutenant governor, an attorney general and all 100 members of the state’s House of Delegates.
The new lieutenant governor, who is elected independently from the top of the ticket, will make history as the first woman to hold the office. Both major candidates are also people of color. The Democrat, Hala Ayala, is a two-term delegate from Prince William County who is of Salvadoran and Lebanese descent. The Republican, Winsome Sears, is a Black businesswoman who served one term in the House of Delegates two decades ago.
The state’s attorney general, Mark R. Herring, is a Democrat seeking his third term in office. Mr. Herring was widely expected to run for governor this year before it emerged that he, like Gov. Ralph Northam, had worn blackface during his college years.
Mr. Herring faces Jason Miyares, a Republican delegate from Virginia Beach and the son of a Cuban immigrant.
Democrats hold a 55 to 45 majority in the House of Delegates, though Republicans are optimistic they can take back the majority that Democrats won in the state’s 2019 elections. The last two years marked the first time in a generation that Democrats held unified control of Virginia’s state government.
When voting began this morning, nearly 1.2 million Virginians had already cast ballots. By comparison, 2.6 million voters turned out in 2017, the last time the state picked its governor.
There are several interesting mayor’s races nationwide that pit more progressive versus more moderate Democrats, including in Boston, Seattle, Cleveland, Minneapolis and Buffalo
On a consequential Election Day in Virginia, voters in Richmond are deciding on Tuesday on a hotly contested ballot measure that could result in the country’s only Black-owned casino.
The proposed gambling facility would cost more than $500 million and be located on Richmond’s South Side, in a predominantly Black area that has long struggled with economic development.
Proponents of the casino argue that it could spur job creation and further business investment. Its critics say that it could siphon money from low-income residents while introducing other problems such as traffic congestion, late-night revelry and increased crime.
The casino would be owned by Urban One, a media group that caters to Black audiences and owns several radio and television stations. The project has been supported by Richmond’s mayor, a majority of City Council members, Gov. Ralph Northam and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is seeking to be elected governor once more on Tuesday.
Just this week, the rapper and producer Missy Elliott, a Virginia native, urged voters to back the project. The singer Anthony Hamilton also sent a message to his followers this week.
Even outside Richmond, some voters said the outcome of the casino referendum was their foremost concern. William Joyner, 54, who voted in Newport News, said he hoped the facility would be built.
“We’re all looking to Richmond,” he said. “A Black-owned casino? Just think if that was here.”
MINNEAPOLIS — When Minneapolis was overwhelmed by protests last year after a police officer murdered George Floyd, Jacob Frey became one of the country’s most visible mayors.
On Tuesday, Mr. Frey and his vision for policing were both on the ballot. Voters were not only deciding whether to give the mayor a second term, but also whether to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new public safety agency.
Mr. Frey, who was heckled by protesters last year after rejecting calls to defund the police, has campaigned on the issue. Policing, he has argued, needs to be improved, but replacing the entire department would be counterproductive, especially at a time when violent crime is rising.
“When you tell the truth,” Mr. Frey said Tuesday before a lunchtime stop at an Eastern European deli. “You don’t cave and you keep an honest and steady approach, and chart a progressive path, people over time respect it and value it.”
Mr. Frey and his best-known challengers are all Democrats, but they have been sharply divided over the question of whether the Minneapolis Police Department is worth salvaging. Kate Knuth, a former state lawmaker running against Mr. Frey, has argued for a clean break with the current policing structure, calling for it to be replaced with a new public health-focused agency.
“I’ve been very clear: My vision of the Department of Public Safety absolutely includes police,” Ms. Knuth said after canvassing a dorm at the University of Minnesota. “But we need to dig in and not ask the police to do the things we don’t need them to do.”
Another mayoral candidate, Sheila Nezhad, who decided to run for mayor after working as a street medic during last year’s protests, said the election had the potential to send a national message about the need to rethink safety and law enforcement.
“Today, we’re really choosing the future of public safety,” Ms. Nezhad said as she waved to voters at an intersection on the city’s South Side. “We get to choose stepping forward into a world with more safety, more justice, away from the violent system of policing that has encompassed Minneapolis for 154 years.”
Minneapolis will decide whether to keep or replace its long-troubled Police Department. I’m interested to see returns in North Minneapolis, which has high rates of gun violence and where many people want more police.
Reporting from Richmond
In Richmond, Va., a deep blue city, voters found many ways to say they’re nervous: “I’m really on pins and needles.” “I was hoping we’d be up by a higher margin.” “My anxiety level is high.”
One candidate for governor stands apart in a red vest amid a sea of men in suits walking like zombies, eager to proclaim himself an outsider.
The other appears in a suit with a lapel pin fit for a governor, a proud former official touting a track record of achievement in government.
The closing ads from the McAuliffe and Youngkin campaigns are not the overly emotive pitches so common in campaigns grasping for a connection in the homestretch of a long election. Instead, the ads are quick distillations of one of the most basic distinctions between the two candidates: a former popular governor, or a rising outsider.
The ad by Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate, focuses on three conservative issues animating the base of the party and bleeding into moderate voters’ concerns: public safety, education and lower taxes.
Though the campaign has centered on a caustic debate over mask mandates and how to teach racism in schools, Mr. Youngkin only makes a passing reference to these issues by lamenting “more government control.” Instead, he touches on crime, as a law enforcement officer is shown wading through the suited politicians to get to the front.
The candidate’s voice drives the ad. But the zombie politicians and Mr. Youngkin’s supporters get almost as much screen time as he does.
Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, appears first in his ad. He focuses the first half on bipartisanship and his record as governor from 2013 to 2017, boasting of “moving Virginia forward” through job creation and investment in education.
But the former governor pivots halfway through to talk about two key issues in his campaign: abortion rights and education funding.
Much like an address from a sitting official, the closing ad from the McAuliffe campaign provides a kind of response to the Youngkin ad. Mr. McAuliffe seems to proudly claim the mantle of a former elected official, conveying the message that he is more prepared for success than an outsider.
We spoke to residents of Chesterfield County, Va., about the issues that matter to them. This county was a Republican stronghold for 72 years until it turned blue in 2020.
Concerns about voter turnout in New Jersey already had both campaigns for governor in overdrive. Then there were reports of tech snags that led to lines of frustrated voters.
Jeremy W. Peters
Reporting from Virginia
Youngkin has managed to keep Trump at an arm’s length. If he wins, “Never Trump” Republicans and moderates will argue that Virginia is their new template. And Trump will likely claim victory.
BOSTON — Few of Boston’s policy dilemmas have been more thoroughly picked apart during its mayoral campaign than “Mass and Cass,” a sidewalk encampment of around 400 people, most struggling with drug addictions and mental illness.
The tent city, which took its name from its location at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, offered some accommodations for active drug users: The police tolerated open drug use, charitable groups distributed food and clean needles, and when someone overdosed, they could be quickly revived with Narcan.
As the tent city swelled in recent months, though, it became wilder and more dangerous, the site of prostitution and violent crime. And intense attention fell on it during the mayoral campaign, as candidates debated whether its inhabitants should be forced to leave.
On the eve of the election, Bruce Perez, 34, a former Marine who had been living in the camp, was dumping his neighbors’ sodden possessions into a trash bin with a grim expression.
“They gave us Mass Ave. for a certain period of time — literally you were shooting up right in front of cops,” he said. “The crazy thing is, now they have decided to take it back.”
Mr. Perez wasn’t sure where his neighbors would end up, but he predicted that three-quarters of them would gravitate back to the streets eventually. A few, who had outstanding warrants, were brought before judges, and from there to jails or treatment facilities. Ms. Janey announced on Monday that 17 of the tent dwellers had “pathways to transitional housing.”
Others just scattered. Christie Joubert, a volunteer outreach worker, said some had told her they were “going into the woods in Cambridge,” and others “to find a train station.”
“What you can’t do is sprinkle disappearing ink on people,” she said. “Do we want them out there overdosing, or do we want them here?”
Drug law enforcement is often tied to political cycles, said Leo Beletsky, a Northeastern University law professor who specializes in drug policy and public health. He described the bursts of activity as “a little bit of theater to demonstrate that decision makers are being decisive and action-oriented” and said that resources would be better spent improving existing treatment options.
“The response is that we have to force them into these services, instead of asking, ‘How do we make these services better?'” he said.
Tasha Moncrief, whose 28-year-old son had been living in the tent city, has long argued that the city should clear the camp, which she says creates an “enabling cycle” by providing users with food, shelter and drug paraphernalia. She coaxed him into leaving the camp on Friday, and spent the weekend trying to admit him to a hospital, securing one on Monday.
She, too, was distressed as she watched the tent dwellers — familiar faces — disperse. She wasn’t sure they would be better off.
“They’re going to be somewhere,” she said. “They’re just not going to be at Mass and Cass.”
There are signs of high turnout in Virginia, but not many clues about who may benefit. High turnout is assumed to help Democrats, but Republicans stand to gain if more white, working class voters go to the polls.
In Connecticut’s fastest growing city, one of the two mayoral contenders received an endorsement from Barack Obama, burnishing a list of credentials that includes a degree from Harvard, four terms in the Legislature and a stint as a special projects director for the Department of Homeland Security.
But that contender, Caroline Simmons, 35, a Democrat vying to become the first female mayor of Stamford, is facing a uniquely vexing obstacle in Tuesday’s election, a celebrity candidate with name recognition that extends far beyond Interstate 95: Bobby Valentine.
It’s a name that needs no introduction to sports fans, even nearly two decades after Mr. Valentine managed the New York Mets, including a World Series loss to the Yankees.
Mr. Valentine, 71, who lasted just one season in 2012 as the manager of the Boston Red Sox, has never held elective office.
He is an unaffiliated candidate, and made it on the ballot by getting 188 signatures on a petition — 1 percent of the voters in the last election. But his outsize presence, which includes his own hip-hop jingle telling voters where to find him on the ballot (on Row F “so fresh”) has drawn national intrigue and an influx of money to the race.
Democrats, who have controlled the mayor’s office for all but four of the past 26 years in Stamford, the state’s second-largest city after Bridgeport, ratcheted up their criticism of Mr. Valentine in the final weeks of the campaign.
They drew attention to a video of Mr. Valentine telling supporters, “If you’re not owning, you’re not caring,” which they said was a put-down of renters in the city of 135,000 people. Democrats also panned Mr. Valentine over a lawsuit he filed in state Superior Court in 2020 against the city of Stamford, contesting his property tax assessment for 2019.
Most recently, Ms. Simmons and her supporters rebuked Mr. Valentine for referring to her as “a 35-year-old girl” in an interview with The Associated Press, a reference they said was misogynistic.
Last week, Mr. Valentine sought to contextualize the comment. “When I said that my competition was a girl,” he told WNPR, “I was referring to her private education in a neighboring city when she was in elementary school, junior high school and high school, and if I offended anyone by mentioning her hometown or that she was referred to as a girl when she was in high school, I totally apologize for that.”
In one last push for votes, challengers and incumbents greeted supporters and cast their ballots on the final day of their campaigns for mayor.
Virginia Voters Cast Ballots in Tight Governor’s Race
Voters in Richmond, Va., are deciding between the former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the Republican business executive Glenn Youngkin.
“How are you doing today?” “Good, how are you?” “Good morning. Get yourself a ballot?” “Long day, a long day.”
Voters in Richmond, Va., are deciding between the former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the Republican business executive Glenn Youngkin.
Early numbers are suggesting a high turnout in Virginia, where the governor’s race is one of the most hotly contested in recent memory.
When voting began this morning, nearly 1.2 million Virginians had already cast their ballots. By comparison, 2.6 million voters turned out during the 2017 election, the last time the state picked its governor — a turnout of roughly 48 percent of all registered voters.
Although there’s still time for voting to slow down — and rain was falling in some parts of the state on Tuesday afternoon — so far nearly every county appears on track to exceed 2017 turnout.
During the presidential race last year, roughly 75 percent of registered voters in the state showed up at the polls. Democrats have openly worried that low voter enthusiasm would result in dampened turnout, particularly in the suburbs, which they have relied on for recent election wins.
In Fairfax County, almost half of all registered voters had cast a ballot by 4 p.m., three hours before polls closed. In Alexandria, roughly 42 percent of registered voters had voted by noon. Charlottesville saw a similar turnout rate, with voting picking up significantly in the afternoon.
RAMSEY, N.J. — Last year, the Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Bridget Anne Kelly, an aide to former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey who was implicated in the “Bridgegate” scandal that snarled traffic on the world’s busiest bridge.
Ms. Kelly said at the time that she felt as if she had been given back her name.
On Tuesday, her name appeared on election ballots in Bergen County, N.J., unencumbered by any label other than Republican as she tries to make a political comeback.
Ms. Kelly, 49, is running for county clerk, a far-reaching administrative position that involves recording and maintaining records, facilitating marriages and running elections.
“Bridgegate will always be a part of my life,” Ms. Kelly, a mother of four, said after voting Tuesday morning. “It upended my life, and my family, for years — changed us dramatically.”
Ms. Kelly sent the infamous email — “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” — that led to the closure of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge. It was a bizarre scheme that was meant to punish one of Mr. Christie’s Democratic political opponents, and it ended up creating four days of traffic jams that posed risks to public safety.
Ms. Kelly, who was convicted of conspiracy and wire fraud at a federal trial and sentenced to 13 months in prison, has said she was a “scapegoat” in the plot that ultimately helped doom Mr. Christie’s presidential ambitions.
The Supreme Court, in a unanimous ruling, concluded that the scheme was an abuse of power, but not a federal crime, enabling Ms. Kelly to avoid prison time.
Bergen County is New Jersey’s most populous county and one of its most heavily Democratic regions, which meant Ms. Kelly’s campaign as a Republican was always an uphill pursuit.
In an unsubtle salvo, her opponent, John S. Hogan, a Democrat vying for re-election as clerk, announced his campaign near the George Washington Bridge. Polls in New Jersey close at 8 p.m.
Ms. Kelly said that she hoped her candidacy, no matter the outcome, would offer an example of perseverance.
“I hope I can be an example for women,” she said, “and show they can find strength from adversity, and find a way to get through something that may seem never-ending.”
Astead W. Herndon
Reporting from Virginia Beach
An old enemy is threatening the final hours of voting in Virginia: weather. Officials are eyeing increasing chances of rain and lightning in some of the state’s metro areas.
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Amid overcast skies and hints of rain, Black Virginians in the state’s coastal regions cast their ballots on Tuesday in the closely watched election for governor that pits former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, against a Republican businessman, Glenn Youngkin.
For most of the day, there were no lines at Newport News City Hall, a sign of how many voters had participated in early voting or used an absentee ballot, two measures that were expanded last year amid the coronavirus pandemic. However, among the Black voters who did vote in person Tuesday, many said they understood that the national spotlight was on the state as a potential bellwether for next year’s midterm elections.
“They’re going to look to us,” said Tony McCright, a 68-year-old retiree who voted Tuesday afternoon. “So we have to step up.”
Newport News, the fifth-largest city in the state and a hub of Black voters, has often been a Democratic stronghold where liberal candidates can run up their vote tallies to offset more conservative, rural areas. Elected officials in the region said they expected strong turnout again this cycle, but that specific numbers were harder to gauge, considering the use of absentee ballots and early voting.
Ashante Holden, 31, said she backed Mr. McAuliffe because she is worried about apathy among her family and friends.
“I’ll be honest, I’ve heard of people — a guy friend and my sister — who don’t want to vote,” Ms. Holden said. “They just feel like nothing changes and that Democrats haven’t been delivering for them.”
William Joyner, 54, said he trusts Mr. McAuliffe, a former governor who performed well with Black voters in previous elections. But he understands the skepticism from others.
“Republicans excite their base,” Mr. Joyner said. “And it never seems like Democrats follow through enough to get us excited.”
But Mr. Joyner also said that he was confident Mr. McAuliffe and Democrats would prevail, even by a small number. He said he has heard more people talk about the race in recent weeks — giving him hope of a groundswell of enthusiasm.
“People want to be sold on dreams,” he said. “That’s what Democrats needed to do. Help us believe.”
The contest between Eric Adams and Curtis Sliwa is something of a fait accompli. In New York City, where Democrats far outnumber Republicans, Adams is expected to win. The question is, by how much.
From New York City to Atlanta, people took to the polls on Tuesday to vote in races big (governors) and small (local school boards).
ATLANTA — Kasim Reed, Atlanta’s polarizing former mayor, is back in the hunt for a third term with an unconventional pitch: He’s asking voters to look past whether they like him and instead look at whether he can fix their city’s unsettling violent crime problem.
“I may not be the person you want to have a beer with,” Mr. Reed said in an October debate. “But I am the person who can get you home to have a beer with the person you want to have it with.”
Mr. Reed is one of five major candidates vying for the position after the current mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, announced in May that she would not seek a second term. Like Mr. Reed, the other top candidates in the nonpartisan race — Felicia Moore, the City Council president; Sharon Gay, a lawyer; and two council members, Andre Dickens and Antonio Brown — are all liberals. And like Mr. Reed, all have promised to fix the crime problem while working to ensure that the rights of residents, particularly people of color, are respected by the police.
If no candidate receives a majority of the vote on Tuesday, the top two performers will head into a runoff scheduled for Nov. 30. A poll of likely voters, commissioned by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and released on Oct. 21, showed Ms. Moore leading the pack with about 24 percent support, putting her slightly ahead of Mr. Reed, with about 20 percent. But pollsters noted that the lead was within the poll’s margin of error.
The corruption problem that plagued Mr. Reed’s administration is the main cudgel Ms. Moore and others are wielding against him. Three figures in his administration have pleaded guilty to federal crimes, and three more are awaiting trial.
Mr. Reed’s big bet, as he mounts what has thus far been a remarkable comeback bid, is that voters will accept his argument that he is the only candidate in the race who will know how to manipulate the levers and buttons of city government from Day 1.
If Ms. Moore and Mr. Reed end up in a runoff, as polling suggests, Ms. Moore will have to hope that Mr. Reed is more infamous than famous, and that voters will heed the directions of a billboard that went up recently, sponsored by a group called Atlantans Fighting Corruption: “Elect anybody,” it reads, “but Kasim Reed for mayor.”
After a lengthy, bitter primary constrained by the coronavirus and a contentious general-election campaign, New Yorkers went to the polls on Tuesday to pick a mayor to lead the nation’s largest city out of the throes of the pandemic and into a new political era.
After eight years under Mayor Bill de Blasio, voters are choosing between two candidates with sharply distinct visions: Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee and a former police officer who is currently Brooklyn’s borough president; and Curtis Sliwa, the Republican founder of the Guardian Angels, who has never held public office.
Mr. Adams, who has run a campaign tightly focused on public safety, is heavily favored in a city where Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans.
Many voters across the city said that his perspective on safety and crime — he has links to police officers but has said repeatedly that he pressed for reforms from within the system — had won him their support.
Carmen Nunez, 69, of Ozone Park, Queens, said she believed that Mr. Adams was the best candidate to address safety concerns. Others said he appeared to have a strong understanding of the pulse of the city.
“The way that he spoke, he seemed to represent a lot of New Yorkers,” said Julia Yarwood, a 35-year-old Bronx resident who said she was a Democrat.
If he wins, Mr. Adams will be the city’s second Black mayor. He has promised to lead New York in a more equitable direction, pointing to his working-class roots to suggest he would advocate for issues of concern to less affluent New Yorkers.
Still, in contrast to the message of economic populism Mr. de Blasio rode to victory in 2013 and 2017 (he is prevented by term limits from running again), Mr. Adams has made explicit overtures to big-business leaders, arguing that they too have a significant role to play in the city’s recovery.
Eric Adams greeted voters outside P.S. 375 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.Credit…Todd Heisler/The New York Times
After voting in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, on Tuesday, Mr. Adams wiped away tears.
“Because I’m standing here, everyday New Yorkers are going to realize they deserve the right to stand in this city also,” he said. “This is for the little guy.”
Mr. Sliwa has also been keenly focused on public safety and addressing homelessness, but on other matters and certainly in personality, he and Mr. Adams have significant differences.
Mr. Sliwa’s campaign has also been marked by antics and eccentricities that often drew more attention than his policy positions. His trip to the polls on Tuesday grew into a fracas when he tried to bring one of his many cats with him to vote, then fought with election officials who asked him to remove his red campaign jacket when they deemed it was a violation of electioneering rules.
Mr. Sliwa, a longtime talk radio host, has long cut a large figure in New York, with some remembering him fondly from his reputation as a crime fighter during the early days of the Guardian Angels. During his campaign, he has sought to draw a contrast with Mr. Adams, whom he has called elitist.
“He’s from the streets, he knows the reality of what is going on,” said Nancy Aldrich, a 59-year-old Queens resident who said she was a Republican. “He doesn’t blow smoke in your eyes.”
Curtis Sliwa made a final campaign stop in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, on Tuesday.Credit…Hilary Swift for The New York Times
Mr. Sliwa has highlighted still-simmering questions around Mr. Adams’s residency and his financial dealings. He has also tried to capitalize on anger in some corners of the city around vaccine mandates.
That dynamic, coupled with the possibility of low voter turnout, has injected a measure of uncertainty into the final hours of the race.
Other key races have offered more drama, including several City Council elections where Republicans are fighting to hold, if not grow, their three spots in the 51-member body.
Across the state, a hotly contested rematch in the Buffalo mayor’s race and a fight for district attorney on Long Island also illustrate nationwide struggles over public safety and criminal justice reform. Taken together, the results on Tuesday may offer a snapshot of the tensions over the direction and identity of the Democratic Party in New York.
Julianne McShane and James Thomas contributed reporting.
In the tight race for governor of Virginia, Election Day morphed into Election Month.
By the time voters cast their ballots on Tuesday, more than 1.1 million Virginians had already done so in person and by mail during a month and a half of early voting. The state’s six-week early voting period, one of the longest in the country, began on Sept. 17 and ended on Saturday.
The early turnout this year was more than four times what it was in the previous election for governor four years ago, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a nonpartisan group that tracks voting data.
The coronavirus pandemic has helped convert more and more voters into early voters. In the 2020 presidential election, the early vote made up 63 percent of the electorate, up from 36 percent in 2016. Even as conservatives have attacked the legitimacy of voting by mail with false claims of widespread fraud, the popularity of early voting in Virginia by both Democrats and Republicans has been shaping the dynamics of the race and may play a role in delaying the final results if the election is extraordinarily close.
Before 2020 in Virginia, early voting lasted for seven days and required an excuse from voters. Last year, the State Legislature extended early voting to up to 45 days and expanded access to all voters by removing the excuse requirement, a response, in part, to the pandemic.
“We used to shove four million voters through the doors in 13 hours,” said Christopher E. Piper, the commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections. “Now we can do that over the course of 45 days.”
But the early vote process has not been without its challenges. In October, the Democratic Party of Virginia sued the U.S. Postal Service for what it claimed was an unusually slow processing of more than 25,000 mail ballots across three key counties: Albemarle, James City and Portsmouth.
The Postal Service agreed to enter into a consent decree to expedite ballot processing ahead of the election.