Virginia is holding a very close election — vote early, or on November 7

Virginia is holding a very close election — vote early, or on November 7
Image: Commonwealth of Virginia/LU Staff

Virginia is holding a very close election. The last day to vote is on Tuesday, November 7. If you live in Virginia, you can also vote early, at specified locations, on Monday through Friday, from September 22 to November 3, or on Saturday, October 28 or November 4.

Voters are almost evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. A recent Washington Post poll shows that 47% of likely voters prefer the Democrats, while 45% of likely voters prefer the Republicans.

Republicans and Democrats are tied on the generic ballot, according to recent polls for Cygnal and Yahoo News.

A Founder’s Insight poll shows 45% of Virginia voters plan to vote for the Democrats, and 44% plan to vote for Republicans. A poll by Coefficient shows 41% Virginians plan to vote for the Democrats, while 40% plan to vote for the Republicans.

Control of Virginia’s legislature could be decided by a single vote, like yours if you live in Virginia. In 2017, the pivotal legislative race in Virginia was decided by a coin toss to break a tie, after two candidates got the same number of votes in Virginia’s 94th district. The Republican candidate won that coin toss. His win in that race gave Republicans control of the House of Delegates by a narrow 51-to-49 margin.

The election results may determine whether Virginia cuts taxes or instead raises government spending at a rapid clip. Virginia has a Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin, but the legislature is split between a Democratic-controlled state senate and a Republican-controlled House of Delegates. The Democratic-controlled senate has blocked most of the governor’s proposed tax cuts, but it did grudgingly agree to repeal most of the state sales tax on groceries, reducing it from 2.5% to 1%.  Governor Youngkin and Republicans would like to fully eliminate the grocery tax, while Democrats want to keep the tax so they can spend more taxpayer money.

Under the Republican governor’s Democratic predecessor, Ralph Northam, government spending rose rapidly in Virginia, and Northam signed into law various tax increases and increased fees. Progressive energy legislation signed by Northam is expected to increase residents’ utility bills a lot in the years to come. Republicans would like to repeal or modify that legislation, in order to lower electric bills.

Republicans are seeking torepeal a law” passed by Democrats in 2021 that will “ban the sale of new gas-powered cars” by 2035 by “tying Virginia to California vehicle emissions standards.” Banning gasoline-powered cars could price cars out of reach for many Virginians, because electric cars typically cost far more than gas-powered cars. As the New York Times notes, “electric cars” are “too costly for many, even with” government subsidies. As the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations observes, “The electric vehicles on the market are well beyond the means of most consumers and get more expensive all the time.” For example, a Cadillac Lyriq starts at around $62,000, despite being touted as a “bargain” compared to some other electric cars.

The Republican-controlled House of Delegates voted to repeal the ban on future sales of gas-powered cars this year, but the Democratic-controlled Senate kept the ban in place, with all Democrats on a key committee voting to keep the ban.

Electric cars are not better for the environment for all drivers, because making their battery is bad for the environment. For an infrequent driver who drives a car less than 75,000 miles over its lifespan, an electric vehicle may result in more greenhouse gas emissions and pollution over its lifecycle than a gasoline-powered vehicle. As the London Daily Mail points out, electric vehicles are “not green machines: The environmental benefit of EVs may never be felt as their production creates up to 70% more emissions than [gas-powered] equivalents….Electric cars need to be used for tens of thousands of miles before they offset the higher releases, with VW’s e-Golf becoming more environmentally friendly only after 77,000 miles, according to the manufacturer’s own figures.” The mileage may have to be even higher than that, if they are driven frequently in cold weather. Cold weather can cut electric car range by over 40%, resulting in a given mile of driving consuming far more energy from the grid. Electric vehicles’ batteries are often charged using energy generated by fossil fuels.

One LU blogger has a 2007 Hyundai that he drives only to the grocery store most months. It has only about 30,000 miles on it, most of the way through its lifespan. It would make no sense for him to buy an electric car, which would result in more pollution just to produce its battery than the gasoline-powered Hyundai emits in years.

Mining the lithium needed for electric car batteries can be bad for the environment. Lithium mining emits large amounts of greenhouse gases. The Guardian, a progressive newspaper, says that

The US’s transition to electric vehicles could require three times as much lithium as is currently produced for the entire global market, causing needless water shortages, Indigenous land grabs, and ecosystem destruction inside and outside its borders, new research finds….If Americans continue to depend on cars at the current rate, by 2050 the US alone would need triple the amount of lithium currently produced for the entire global market, which would have dire consequences for water and food supplies, biodiversity, and Indigenous rights.

If everyone switches to electric cars, that could cause some bridges to collapse, because electric cars weigh so much more than gas-powered cars. As the London Telegraph notes, the “sheer weight of electric vehicles could sink our bridges,” because electric vehicles “are 33 per cent heavier than petrol vehicles.” One study found that electric vehicles place twice as much stress on roads as gas-powered vehicles, likely producing more potholes.

So if everyone drives an electric vehicle, state and local governments may need to spend large amounts of taxpayer money strengthening bridges and repairing roads. That could require tax increases.

Switching to electric vehicles would also place a strain on the electric grid, according to CNBC. America’s power grid is already increasingly unreliable, according to the Wall Street Journal. The U.S. already faces the risk of of blackouts in the summer and during winter cold waves.

LU Staff

LU Staff

Promoting and defending liberty, as defined by the nation’s founders, requires both facts and philosophical thought, transcending all elements of our culture, from partisan politics to social issues, the workings of government, and entertainment and off-duty interests. Liberty Unyielding is committed to bringing together voices that will fuel the flame of liberty, with a dialogue that is lively and informative.


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