computerization, especially Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, has provided new techniques for Get Out The Vote (GOTO) and voter suppression campaigns
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections, Evolution of Virginia Elections
In 1883, a supposed "riot" in Danville was publicized by Democrats as a sign that African-Americans were demanding social and economic equality, beyond the right to vote. The Democrats won control of the General Assembly in that election. After losing the race for governor in 1885, the Readjuster Party dissolved.1
The capacity of Republicans to be elected was low, with the notable exception of the "Fighting Ninth" District for the US House of Representatives in southwestern Virginia. Democrats maintained full control of state government until 1969. The key contests occurred in the Democratic primaries rather than in the general elections, and winning the primary was "tantamount" to election.
Federal legislation and court rulings in the 1960's expanded the electorate, allowing minorities an opportunity to vote and win elections, but primaries have remained a key decision point in determining who will represent a district. In 1966, there were new voters in the 8th Congressional District from redistricting that was required to comply with "one person-one vote" decisions by state and Federal courts. Rep. Howard W. Smith had bee elected nine times, and had risen to become chair of the House Rules Committee.
The more-liberal George W. Rawlings defeated Rep. Smith in the Democratic primary in 1966, and then the Republican candidate (William Scott) defeated Rawlings in the general election.
By the 1990's, Northern Virginia had become a stronghold for liberal Democrats. Once again, victory in the Democratic primary was tantamount to election. In 2003, the race for the District 49 seat in the Virginia House of Delegates attracted little interest. Adam Ebbin won the primary with just 771 votes, then ran unopposed in the general election to become the first openly gay member of the General Assembly.
Political analyst and scholar Larry Sabato noted:2
in the 2003 primary, the candidate for the District 49 seat in the House of Delegates won with just 771 votes
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections, 2003 House of Delegates Democratic Primary - District 49
A single voter's decision occasionally determines who wins a race. In 1991, "Landslide Jim" Scott won the 53rd District seat in the House of Delegates by one vote. That same year, Peter T. Way won the race in the 58th District by the same narrow margin. Races can also end in a tie, after which the winner is chosen "by lot" rather than in a runoff election.3
suffragists who protested at the White House were jailed and force-fed at the Occoquan Workhouse in Lorton, before women gained the right to vote in 1920 after ratification of the 19th Amendment
Source: Architect of the Capitol, Women's Suffrage Parade, 1917
Assigning residents to the correct local, state, and Federal voting districts is the responsibility of local registrars in each county/city. In 2017, an election in Newport News ended in a tie vote, with the winner decided by drawing names from a bowl. Afterwards, it became clear that some voters had been assigned to the wrong precinct.
The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission reported in 2018 that mis-assignment of voters was not unique to Newport News, in part because local registrars did not use address and boundary data consistently:4
local registrars assign voters to precincts, but state boundaries and address data may be inconsistent with local decisions
Source: Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, Operations and Performance of Virginia’s Department of Elections (Figure 2-13)