To the editor:
If this year is at all like the last Virginia gubernatorial election, then there is a high risk that nearly two of every three eligible voters will not vote. Yet elections matter, and they matter because politicians make decisions on issues that affect us all.
In the interest of stronger voter turnout, here are five major issues on which our commonwealth’s gubernatorial candidates, Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli, would lead Virginians down sharply divergent paths.
1) Gun control: McAuliffe supports universal background checks on all gun purchases. Cuccinelli opposes universal background checks.
2) Health care: McAuliffe supports the Affordable Care Act, including a Medicaid expansion that would provide health coverage for an estimated 400,000 Virginians and jobs for 40,000 health care workers. Cuccinelli opposes the Affordable Care Act and has fought to prevent its implementation in the commonwealth.
3) Women’s rights: McAuliffe supports women’s right to choose as well as funding for Planned Parenthood and women’s health care clinics. Cuccinelli seeks to ban abortion (including in cases of rape and incest), defund Planned Parenthood and has co-sponsored legislation that would criminalize common forms of birth control.
4) LGBT rights: McAuliffe supports marriage equality, while Cuccinelli opposes it. Cuccinelli also has advocated keeping laws criminalizing sodomy on the books.
5) Voting rights: McAuliffe seeks to protect the right to vote and encourage its practice. Cuccinelli calls for requiring voters to show identification, knowing full well that such a rule would prevent more poor and young Virginians from voting.
This election matters for these five reasons and so many more. Will you vote November 5?
– Paul Lachelier