The Chesapeake city elections are still planned to be held on May 19, 2020 (changed from May 5th) despite the Governor’s recommendation to delay them further due to COVID-19. Currently the last day to request a mail-in ballot is now May 12th.
Scroll Below For Sample Ballot & Information On Candidate
If you are under the misunderstanding that Chesapeake city elections have were moved, then you are not alone. It has been very confusing since it was announced in early April that Governor Northam was delaying the June primary elections two weeks until June 23, 2020. However, on April 22, 2020 the Virginia General Assembly just voted against the recommendation to delay local elections.
Chesapeake Senator Cosgrove was among vocal advocates to continue to hold the elections in May, while Delegate Kelly Convirs Fowler was advocating for a delay due to the current health concerns. Now that the decision has made, it only leaves just four business days remaining to obtain a mail in ballot.
An email was sent on April 13, 2020 specifically inquiring as to whether or not the city of Chesapeake had the ability to delay the election. This email was sent to the entire Chesapeake city council, the city manager, the city attorney and the Registrar’s office. The reply from the General Registrar, Mary Lynn Pinkerman specifically stated “The Governor only has the authority to move an election 14 days.”
The answer implied that the decision was out of the city’s hands. A second inquiry has been sent since the April 22nd vote to the same individuals seeking clarification on how other cities were able to delay their elections due to the health concerns then. I am still awaiting response from the Chesapeake city attorney. However the city clerk indicated today that we may actually have the ability to delay the elections to June 4, 2020 due to the health pandemic but are currently choosing not to.
Upon receiving the response initial response from the Registrar and prior to vote of the Virginia General Assembly, I also emailed all of the State Senators and Delegates representing Chesapeake regarding this issue inquiring on their position and options. Despite ample time before the vote I received only one response from Delegate Kelly Convirs Foweler’s office citing she advocated for the delay due to COVID-19.
The rest of the State Senators and Delegates representing Chesapeake were unresponsive to the citizen concern including Senator Cosgrove, Senator Spurill Senator, Senator Lucas, Delegate Hayes, Delegate Jenkins, Delegate Knight, Delegate Heretick, and Delegate Leftwich.
VOTER ID REGULATIONS RECENTLY REPEALED
Compound voting integrity concerns, is the fact that in mid April, our state representatives voted to repeal the Voter Identification regulations. This means that voters in Virginia will no longer be required to show an ID to vote in our state and you are easily able to request an absentee ballot to be mailed to a different address.
There was already voter confusion regarding May elections and in the past year concerned citizens had lobbied to move local elections to November, which would save the City of Chesapeake over $100,000 of tax payer money from having a second election. Instead, on September 17, 2020 Chesapeake City Council voted to spend an additional $40,000 to promote the local elections. However, with less than two weeks before the May 5, 2020 election, citizens have yet to see any of the signs like the city used this past November to educate and inform the citizens about the upcoming election.
CANDIDATES ON THE MAY 5th BALLOT
Technically our local city elections are considered “non-partisan” and it is not indicated on the actual ballot if the candidate is a Republican, Democrat or Independent. Both the local Republican Party of Chesapeake and the Chesapeake Democratic Commitee do offer endorsements and have volunteers hand out sample ballots of their preferred candidates at polling locations. Previous independent candidates have voiced concern over the overall process on in obtaining their preferred political party’s local endorsement as local endorsement decisions are controlled by a handful of committee members to decide upon first.
Four Mayoral Candidates
The Mayor of Chesapeake is considered a part-time position and has a salary of $25,000 per year. Campaign finance laws are very lax in Virginia and there are very few regulations on how they can be utilized. The current Mayor has raised over $96,000 while the challenging candidates have reported raising less than $125 total according to VPAP.org.
Mayor Richard W. “Rick” West – Republican – Incumbent
Rick West was elected as Chesapeake Mayor in May 2018 during a special election. He was previously a city council member and Chesapeake principal. His voting record is strongly in favor of real estate development even when city planners, engineers, school board members and citizen advocates recommend against it. His campaign is heavily funded by developers according to VPAP.org.
Steffanie L. Aubuchon – Independent
Steffanie Aubuchon has been a citizen activist and spoken her concerns at various city issues involving development, gun safety, and the election date.
According to her Facebook page she “will address the overdevelopment that has put a strain on our public schools and roads as well as the potential VNG compressor station that will negatively impact South Norfolk and Deep Creek. I am not taking any corporate, PAC, or big dollar donations as I am here to represent the citizens of Chesapeake, not special interests.”
L.T. “Len” Myers II – Democrat
According to his website, Len Myers II is a “consumer rights lawyer, protecting consumers across the Commonwealth and successfully argued a landmark case before the Supreme Court of Virginia that helps families facing foreclosure. ” He was also a “former officer in Virginia Defense Force, a component of the Virginia National Guard.”
Palmer D. Smith – Independent
Website or Facebook Unknown
The City Council Candidates
Vote for Not More Than Three
Chesapeake City Council members have a salary of $23,000 per year. Campaign donations from VPAP.org.
Don J. Carey III – Republican
Don Carey III is a former NFL player who Facebook video asks if you have “seen the sign” which is typically seen next to every Rick West for Mayor sign. He is endorsed as a Republican candidate, but ironically has personally donated campaign money to Len Myers (previous campaign) and he is the Democratic candidate opposing Mayor West. He has also donated to Democratic school board candidate Angela Swygert. He did not take a known stance on the Second Amendment issue when directly asked by a citizen.
Les Smith, Jr. – Democrat
Les Smith Jr. is a Democrat who ran for Chesapeake city council in May 2018, but was not elected. He also made a previous attempt in running for Sheriff as well as School Board. He is a retired deputy sheriff of Chesapeake with 28 years of service. He is currently self employed in the financial industry.
Robert C. Ike, Jr. – Republican – Incumbent
Robert C. Ike, Jr is a current city council member who was initially elected in 2012. He was enlisted in the US Air Force as a Military Policeman and served as Deputy Sheriff with the Virginia Beach and also worked for the Chesapeake Police Department. He has a voting history in favor of development. He is a Republican endorsed candidate whose initiatives to protect the second amendment lead to Chesapeake being deemed as a Constitutional City.
Dwight M. Parker- Democrat – Incumbent
Website or Facebook Unknown
Dwight Parker is a former Chesapeake school teacher that has first served Chesapeake city council in 1995. He was formerly the Vice Mayor of Chesapeake. Unfortunately, it may be time for him to retire as more than once he has been appeared to be sound asleep during public speaker comments at city council meetings.
S. Z. “Debbie” Ritter – Republican – Incumbent
Website or Facebook Unknown
Debbie Ritter is a Republican endorsed candidate that first served city council in 1998. She is well known in the community, and has voted against many of the new construction developments that citizens voiced concerns over.
Victoria T. A. “Vic” Nicholls – Independent
Vic Nicholls is a citizen activist who a regular speaker at nearly every city council meeting. She became involved in city politics after city council approved a zoning waiver which allowed office building exceeding the height limit to be built directly in her backyard. She thoroughly researches the city council agenda each week and in a blunt, candid fashion voices her opinions on the issues holding our elected officials accountable. She has conservative Republican values and was a vocal second amendment advocate. She has become a “citizen watch-dog” guarding our tax dollars.
Sharon “Crab Lady” Johnson-Clayton – Democrat
For over 20 years, Sharon Clayton- Johnson has been the President of Eddie’s Chesapeake Bay Crabhouse & More Inc. Not only has she been a successful small business owner in the South Norfolk area of Chesapeake, but she has also been involved volunteer within the community. Sharon is a retired network engineer and graduated from Norfolk State University School of Business.
Chesapeake School Board Candidates
Vote for Not More Than Four
Sam L. Boone, Jr. – Republican – Incumbent
Website or Facebook Unknown
Sam Boone was elected to Chesapeake School Board in 2012.
Victoria L. Proffitt – Republican – Incumbent
Victoria Proffit is a former teacher and has been a member of the Chesapeake School Board since 2012.
Angela B. “Angie” Swygert – Democrat
Gayle M. Gilmore – Independent
Gayle Gilmore is a retired Chesapeake school guidance counselor. Her motto and motivation for running for Chesapeake School Board is “It is all about the children!”
No Campaign Donation noted at VPAP
Thomas L. Mercer, Sr. – Republican – Incumbent
Thomas Mercer Sr has been on Chesapeake School Board since 1996.
Shirley P. Auguste – Republican
Where to Vote in Chesapeake?
Click the question “Where do I vote in Chesapeake, VA?” Enter your basic information and then scroll down and click on Polling Place and Show Ballot. The ballot includes links to the candidates websites. The website, sponsored by the state of Virginia, consolidates your voting location information and your ballot in one place based off your personal information.
However, if you don’t want to enter your personal information, you can also find your polling location in Chesapeake by entering just your address. This link does not include the ballot, which can be found on the Chesapeake Registrar’s website if you know your precinct.
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