RICHMOND, Va. - It’s a so-called "off-year election" in Virginia.
But it’s significant in more ways than one.
Friday, voters in the Commonwealth started to cast their ballots.
The early voting period is 45 days in Virginia, with every election's department offering in-person voting leading up to the big day.
As of 3:30 p.m., Arlington County reported just over 160 voters who’d cast ballots early.
Elections Director Gretchen Reinemeyer says she estimates 30% of voters voting early in-person, 20% by mail, and the last half in person on Election Day.
Arlington voters told FOX 5 that the process went smoothly for them.
"I was just walking outside. I saw the poster outside and I came up here, and cast my vote," said John Dougherty.
"I was excited. I want my voice to be heard, and in case there was scheduling conflicts down the road and wanted to come down and vote," David Molina said after casting his ballot.
SCROLL DOWN TO SEE LIST OF EARLY POLLING LOCATIONS
Despite there being no statewide or federal contests on the ballot, each of the 140 members of the legislature will be on the ballot.
"Virginia is always seen as a bellwether because of this really weird timing where we’ve got the odd-year elections," said Michael Pope, reporter with Virginia Public Radio.
Given what’s at stake, the election could lead to big changes in the Commonwealth, particularly on abortion and tax policy, Pope said.
Currently, the House is controlled by Republicans, the Senate by Democrats, and the governorship by Republican Glenn Youngkin, which has led to the legislature not tackling some of the more animated policies.
"Democrats want abortion to be the top issue, Republicans want inflation and the economy to be the top issue. And clearly, those are both issues that animate voters What we really don’t know is the extent to which this abortion question is going to push voters, especially voters in toss-up races, Pope said. "It might not have been a top issue in some of these districts."
Arlington voters told Fox 5 they understand abortion is a key issue in the election.
"That issue is, of course, on the ballot in Virginia and across the country," said Laura Burke. "That issue, and of course, school boards, we have these local elections. So much policy is made on the local level, and these types of off year elections where people pay less attention become very vital to the micro levels of public policy."
While Virginia’s vote could lead to prognostications on where the nation is on abortion, someone else will be paying close attention to these results: Governor Glenn Youngkin.
"It really will determine the final half of Governor Youngkin’s time in office," Pope said. "Will he get a lot of his big agenda items, more tax cuts, potentially even services for mental health, perhaps even launch a presidential bid. So the rest of Glenn Youngkin’s time in office really will be determined by this election."
Youngkin has not explicitly said he is running for president, but also hasn’t directly ruled it out.
NOTE: ADDITIONAL EARLY VOTING LOCATIONS OPEN CLOSER TO ELECTION DAY—CHECK TIME AND LOCATION AT SITES BELOW
FAIRFAX CITY **early in person at city hall**
Here are Virginia Elections Important Dates to Remember:
- Sept 22: First day of early voting
- Oct. 16: Last day to register to vote a regular ballot
- Oct 27: Last day to request an absentee ballot
- Nov 4: Last day to vote early, in person
- Nov 7 Election Day - Polls open 6am-7pm
- Last day to postmark a mail-in ballot
- Last day to drop off your absentee ballot at your registrar's office or polling location by 7pm
More information can be found online at Virginia Department of Elections.