What Are the New Council Election Districts and How Is the System Different?
Virginia Beach's historic 7-4 hybrid system divided the City into 7 residence districts and 3 at-large seats (plus the Mayor) such that voters were able to vote for all 11 Council members.
The new system, which has been imposed by a federal court, is a 10-1 election district system, which divides the City into 10 districts of approximately equal voting age population. Under this system, each voter will be able to vote for only the Mayor and the representative for their ward district.
Which Candidates Were on the Ballot in November 2022?
A candidate listing for the Nov. 8, 2022 election has been published by the Virginia Department of Elections. Virginia Beach voters will select their choice for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (2nd Congressional District), a City Council representative for their district (if they live in District 1, 2, 4 6, 8, 9 or 10) and a School Board representative (if they live in District 2, 4, 6, 8, 9 or 10).
Where Can I Check My Voter Registration Status?
Residents are encouraged to check their voter registration status as soon as possible. The deadline to register or update an existing registration is October 17, 2022. The Virginia Department of Elections provides an online tool where residents can look up their voter information, register, find their polling place and apply to vote absentee by mail.
Why Is the System Changing?
A federal court recently ordered that the City’s election system for City Council members be changed to a 10-1 election district system to comply with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia imposed the system as its remedy to the alleged Section 2 violation.
The City appealed the decision to the U,S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. More specific information about the case is available here.
Changes to the City's Election System Are Twofold
- The system itself is changing by virtue of the federal court ruling in the Holloway case, and
- The federal court also incorporated the 2020 Census data into the new election district maps to adjust for population shifts and changes. Simply put, the City of Virginia Beach complied with the federal court’s ruling while simultaneously appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
How Will This Affect Me?
Services, like your pickup days for trash and recycling won't change as a result of this ruling. Neither will your child's school district. What is changing is how residents select locally elected leaders. You may also vote in a new precinct and at a new polling location.
Be assured that every Virginia Beach voter will receive a mailing identifying their new election district, voting precinct name, and polling location. You may also look up this information on the Department of Elections website.
Where Can I Learn More About the New Districts?
District profiles have been complied for each of the 10 election districts. These profiles contain information such as how many households and individuals reside in a given district, average income, median home value, education statistics and school locations, economic data, and how the land of a district is zoned.
Since the new districts encompass different areas than the previous system, the makeup of each district is different than before.
These profiles will offer residents resources to better understand the subtleties of their district and how the fit into our community at large. The profiles are available for anyone to view.