After a year like 2020, it is normal to want to take a political breath. Most of us have a laid back attitude when it comes to painting a picture about politics, politics and candidates. Yet the cycle does not stop. Although federal elections do not take place during the year, city and state elections can take place depending on the election schedule or whether a representative has left office. Participating in off-year elections is just as important and arguably more influential because they affect anyone close to home. They have the power to influence the daily life of a voter and to set the course for the upcoming midterm and general election cycle.
With the exception of some special elections, the election of the year takes place on Tuesday after the first Monday in November, just like the general election cycle. This makes the election date for 2021, November 2nd. Although hundreds of local elections will be held across the country, 10 elections will be held across the state, including 2 governorates, and 1 for the US House of Representatives seats.
What a race to see
Virginia Governorate Elections
The Virginia race for governor replaces Ralph Northam, a high-profile, term-limited governor. Currently, the state is completely controlled by Democrats, and Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe is likely to remain so if he confirms the governorship. However, he is running against popular Republican candidate Glenn Yankin, who is known to support President Trump and is trying to keep appealing to more moderate voters in the state. According to a recent survey, this election could be very close and certainly worth a look.
Things that Virginia voters will consider
Since securing control of the State House of Delegates, Senate, and Governorship, the Virginia Democrats have made some progress in policy reform, primarily expanding voter access. In this race for governor, the issue of voter rights versus electoral integrity has become a contentious issue, with the state becoming the easiest to vote for. At the beginning of his campaign, Yunkin expressed concern for the integrity of the election and called for the creation of an “Election Integrity Commission”. McAuliffe’s campaign also addresses this issue, claiming that the current audit method is sufficient to ensure the integrity of the election.
Following the 2020 presidential election, a Politico poll found that 70% of Republicans believe the election was not free and fair. Since this has become a national conversation, Virginia voters are sure to consider this issue when going to the polls.
Ohio Special Election for the US House of Representatives
The race will be competitive for Ohio’s 15th district, as the district is rather divided by party lines. Although Ohio is generally a red state, the 15th District is known to be less conservative. Trump-backed candidate Mike Kerry will run against Democrat Allison Rousseau. Although winning this seat will not change House party control, it will indicate what to expect from Ohio in the mid-2022 term.
It’s a tough fight for Rousseau, but he and other Democrats are hoping for a 2018 victory for Democratic Senator Sherd Brown in the 15th District. Anything is possible and both sides see this competition as an opportunity to build momentum towards the ’22 midterm ‘.
Things that Ohio voters will consider
Republican Kerry’s platform highlights controversial issues such as critical race theory and abortion. Both the 2020 protests against police brutality and the recent abortion laws in the states are highly relevant. He also advertised his approval of Trump, citing it throughout his campaign and on his merchandise. These tactics prove that President Trump has influence over the Republicans, however, with the more moderate voters in the district can block him.
Pennsylvania Judicial Election
States across the country will elect state judges who will have the power to interpret the law. While these elections tend to get less media coverage, they have the potential to change the course of a state’s law. Judges either overturn or set a precedent for each case they face. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the Superior Court, and the Commonwealth Court all have vacancies that will be filled on November 2.
Judicial races in Pennsylvania are high profile because their courts played an influential role after the 2020 presidential election. The Commonwealth court was the first to deal with Trump’s campaign case, contesting state elections. Seven Republican judges were in favor of President Trump, a decision confirming that the no-excuse vote-by-mail violated the state constitution. When the cases went to the state Supreme Court, they were overturned These decisions influenced the outcome of the presidential election, and demonstrated the immense power of the judiciary, even at the state level.
Things that Pennsylvania voters will consider
Pennsylvania courts have been controversial in recent years. Voters are keeping an eye on the future of the election, with decisions on garimandering, voter law and Trump campaign lawsuits.
Boston mayoral election
Whatever the outcome, Boston’s mayoral race is sure to be historic. If both candidates win, they will be the first woman and the first person to be elected mayor of Boston. Although they are both Democrats, Michelle Woo and Anissa S.B. George have a lot to worry about. The race has become more competitive, with some calling it a “progressive-versus-moderate conflict.” Wu is currently the most advanced who has been identified as more progressive, while SIB George has claimed a moderate approach.
Things that Boston voters will consider
One of the biggest issues between U and SB George is police reform. SEB George has set himself apart from all other candidates by rejecting the idea of reducing police funding. Rather, he spoke in favor of recruiting more diverse teams of officers to address the problem of police brutality. Wu condemned the move, citing his support for defending the police force. They also discussed hot topics such as rent control, school and testing methods, climate change and public transport. Again, even though they belong to the same group, they have shown complete differences in their approach to solving each problem.
Things that voters across the country will consider
Although some races gained more traction, there were several hundred more races at the local level on November 2nd. Given Pew Research’s poll and national conversations with Google Trends data, it’s clear that voters have the following issues on their minds when it comes to this year’s election.
- Climate change
- Covid regulations
- Criminal justice
- Electoral reform
Find out where the candidates stand on the subject you care about
With Voterly’s new issue feature, you can go to a politician’s profile and see if they’re up to 30 different topics, including many listed above! Find candidates on your ballot using our Browse Politician tool and view their profiles to find out which issues are most important to them. From there, you can click on each, individual issue to see the position of politicians based on a calculation of group ratings of interest.
To learn more about our most interactive features, take a closer look at our previous blog Happy voting!
The issues that voters will consider in the 2021 off-year elections were originally published in Voterly on Medium, where people continue the conversation by highlighting the story and reacting.