Schar School Almanac Now Provides Election Information on Key Virginia Races


New entries in the Almanac of Virginia Politics include election-relevant material in key races throughout the Commonwealth. Voters can find up-to-date information on candidates and campaign activities on the closely watched, hotly contested races in the House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate.

Every seat—all 140 of them—is in play on November 5.

“The Almanac helps voters choose the people who will make the laws and budget decisions that directly affect our everyday lives at the state and local level,” said Almanac Assistant Editor Jean Thoensen, who is also a chief election officer in Fairfax County. “Every vote really does matter­—one race was decided by random drawing in 2017.”

In addition to information created by Schar School of Policy and Government editors, the entries include district maps created by the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), candidate information compiled by Ballotpedia, and updated news headlines from links collected by VPAP.

"There is actually a lot of information out there on state legislatures—including VPAP, Ballotpedia, Open States, and others—but it's very dispersed and doesn't highlight the key races in an accessible way,” said Associate Professor Robert J. McGrath, director of the undergraduate programs at the Schar School who also directs the Almanac project. “We hope to help the public identify the key races and understand why they're so competitive this year."

“An informed electorate is vital to a democracy,” said Schar School Professor David Ramadan, a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates (2012-2016). “The unbiased information, updated news, and raw data provided by the Almanac are truly valuable resources for Virginia’s voters, particularly in this contentious election cycle." (Ramadan will teach Virginia Legislative Process at Mason in the spring.)

The Almanac of Virginia Politics was created 33 years ago by equal rights advocate and George Mason University graduate Flora Crater and edited by now-retired Schar School Professor Toni-Michelle Travis.

Since 1977, the printed Almanac of Virginia Politics has been a reliable resource for legislators, lobbyists, libraries, civic activists, students, and researchers who need information—historic and contemporary—in Virginia legislative politics. The online version introduced last year increases electorate access.

The Almanac continues to be updated with new information. A section on “Women in the Virginia General Assembly” will eventually include information on every woman elected to the statehouse, from 1920 to the present. Future versions will highlight contributions by other minorities.

Accessing the Almanac is free of charge.

Additionally, the Schar School and the Washington Post have teamed up to conduct statewide polls on possible election outcomes. The story is here.