When Virginia's local elections will be held this year is still somewhat up in the air and may be determined by the Virginia Supreme Court.
On April 24, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed Executive Order 59, which moves local elections from May 5 to May 19 for 56 localities across the commonwealth. The Virginia presidential primary was previously moved from June 9 to June 23.
However, local town leaders are questioning whether May 19 is too soon for residents to safely vote given the governor's stay-at-home order goes through June 10. The towns of Hamilton, Round Hill, Purcellville, Middleburg and Lovettsville are slated to hold elections in May.
On Tuesday, Purcellville Town Council held a work session and discussed filing with the Virginia Supreme Court to seek an additional 16 days, which would move the election to June 4.
Town Attorney Sally Hankins said the paperwork would be sent out Wednesday and should reach the court on Thursday.
“I expect the Supreme Court is receiving a few of these and will respond shortly,” Hankins said.
Middleburg Mayor Bridge Littleton said they are working jointly with the towns of Purcellville and Lovettsville to petition the Supreme Court for an extension.
If the election day stays at May 19, local leaders are encouraging people to vote by absentee ballot.
As of Wednesday, the Loudoun County Board of Elections had received 20 absentee ballots from Hamilton out of 68 requested; 103 ballots from Lovettsville out of 303 requested; 26 absentee ballots from Middleburg out of 67 requested; 595 ballots from Purcellville out of 1,535 requested; and 11 ballots from Round Hill out of 34 requested.
There are 429 registered voters in Hamilton, 1,783 registered voters in Lovettsville, 564 registered voters in Middleburg, 6,223 registered voters in Purcellville and 543 registered voters in Round Hill.
The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot to be mailed is May 12. The last day to return it completed is May 19 at 7 p.m.
On April 23, Lovettsville Mayor Nate Fontaine said Lovettsville Town Council agreed a May election is not in the best interest of the voters, the candidates or staff working the polls.
Fontaine said infection tracing in Wisconsin shows that individuals -- voters and staff -- were infected through the polling locations from their recent election. Current modeling from the University of Virginia shows Loudoun infections peaking the last week of April or first week of May.
“Knowing this information, this would make it one of the most dangerous times to be out voting,” he said.
Lovettsville Town Council is working with other municipalities in the area to file jointly with the Supreme Court for an extension.
“The council and I feel that the most favorable outcome would be the General Assembly deciding the upcoming election dates in a special session in June. There did appear to be bipartisan, bicameral willingness to extend the current election to sometime in June should there be a special session,” Fontaine said.
In Round Hill, Town Council held a special meeting Tuesday night to discuss the option of petitioning the Supreme Court to postpone the date.
“There was opinion on both sides of the topic, but none of it very strong, I believe due to the anticipated low turnout because the elections are not contested ... Ultimately no one on the council made a motion to petition the court so there was no vote. We are preparing for elections on May 19 and encourage all town voters to request and submit an absentee ballot,” Mayor Scott Ramsey said.
Hamilton Mayor David Simpson said Town Council agreed they prefer to see a November election.
“If it stays on the 19th we will live with that but push for absentee voting for safety. We are not going to petition the Supreme Court, we will do the best with what we've got,” Simpson said.
More information about absentee ballots and the local elections can be found through Loudoun.gov/Vote.