Virginia Beach voters recalled the new system for this year’s election process

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With early voting underway on Hampton Roads, this year is different for voters in Virginia Beach with the new 10-1 voting system.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Just weeks before Election Day, people are making their voices heard at the polls early this year, especially those in Virginia Beach who still have a few rules to follow.

2022 is the first year Virginia Beach voters see the new 10-1 system, which divides Virginia Beach into 10 districts of roughly equal voting age population.

Instead of voting in an “at-large” system for each council member, voters will vote only for the candidate representing their individual district, in addition to the mayor for the general vote.

It’s not just for the city council. This new system also applies to Virginia Beach City Public School Board applicants.

RELATED: Virginia Beach voters can expect changes at the polls in November

“It’s important that people are represented in their district and making sure the council member lives in the district they represent is also important,” said Melissa Lukeson, the first voters’ advocate, outside the building 14.

Through redistricting, the city created three neighborhoods of opportunity for minorities. This means they have drawn Districts 4, 7 and 10 in a way that gives members of minorities a better opportunity to elect a candidate who shares their political beliefs.

Virginia Beach NAACP branch president Dr. Karen Hills Pruden said she pushed to implement this new system when city officials first released the data. She said not everyone in each district has the same income and needs.

“All of those things, the unemployment rate is pretty much the same across the city, but the net worth, there’s big disparities,” Pruden explained.

That’s why she said she thinks it’s best for people to vote for those who are also in the same neighborhood and have a similar lifestyle.

RELATED: Voter’s Guide to the 2022 Midterm Elections

“If you live in a neighborhood that’s a food desert because there aren’t a lot of grocery stores, then you’d be a cheerleader for bringing in businesses where their specialty is groceries. live every day, you are more responsive to getting the change needed in your district.”

She said she wanted people to take advantage of this new system to learn about candidates and get to the polls early.

“My thing is to educate you and then use your vote as your voice,” Pruden said. “You lose the district’s vote when you’re at-large, so after this election, the people of the district have said by voting who they want to represent them and that’s the message I want to get across.”

One thing Virginia Beach voters should keep in mind is that the polling station you are used to going to during election season may be different.

Voters should have received a card in the mail identifying their electoral districts, the names of the electoral districts and the polling stations.

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