HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — There’s only a week until Virginians go to the polls and cast their ballots.
Voters will decide what the Virginia General Assembly will look like, as all 140 seats in both Virginia’s state Senate and House of Delegates are on this ballot.
Currently, Democrats have a slim majority in the state Senate. Republicans have the advantage in the House.
It’s a race to gain control of the General Assembly.
“In terms of policy impacts, this election could be very significant,” said Jesse Richman, Old Dominion University associate professor of political science, geography and international studies. “It’s going to determine whether Governor (Glenn) Youngkin is able to move many of his policy agenda forward.”
At a panel at ODU, political science experts told the group it’ll likely come down to just a few districts.
According to Ballotpedia, there are only seven House and eight Senate races labeled as “battlegrounds.”
“The fact that every seat is up doesn’t mean all the seats are heavily contested,” Richman said. “There are a number of seats where each party was unable to field a candidate.”
In some districts, the winning margin could be a few votes.
“In close races, especially some of these races like Mason/Diggs, some pundits say it could come down to dozens of votes,” said Benjamin Melusky, ODU associate professor of political science, geography and international studies. “Every single vote matters here.”
Melusky said it could come down to independent and undecided voters. He said whichever party can get those voters to the polls could see success.
Political experts are also keeping a close eye on voter turnout.
This election is looked at as a “relatively low turnout election” because there are no national or big state races.
“It’s going to come down to — in that relatively low turnout — which party has supporters that decide, ‘yes I care enough about this election enough to vote,'” Richman said.
Melusky said a lot of people are looking at Virginia to see trends for the next election.
“It’s a microcosm of looking forward to 2024,” he said.