In the coming weeks and months, voters will elect members to all 140 seats in the Virginia General Assembly, as well as other offices in some localities. Much is at stake!
Early voting begins September 22. Election Day is November 7. New General Assembly maps are in effect for this year’s elections.
To help you prepare, please visit our Election Resource hub. There you can view, download and print the following materials, three of which are newly released and one of which is re-issued:
- A pre-election letter from Bishop Michael F. Burbidge and Bishop Barry C. Knestout
- A Register to Vote flyer explaining how to register, eligibility and key dates
- A New Political Maps flyer to help you find your new districts and the candidates
- A re-issued Four Principles of Catholic Social Teaching resource
Jeff Caruso, executive director of the Virginia Catholic Conference
“In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation. ‘People in every nation enhance the social dimension of their lives by acting as committed and responsible citizens’ (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 220). The obligation to participate in political life is rooted in our baptismal commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to bear Christian witness in all we do. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, ‘It is necessary that all participate, each according to his position and role, in promoting the common good. This obligation is inherent in the dignity of the human person. . . . As far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life’ (nos. 1913-1915).”
This paragraph – from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” teaching document on the political responsibility of Catholics – is challenging and provides much to unpack.
In Virginia, where we have elections every year, we may be tempted to respond, “Yes, but I need a break first!” But the call to faithful citizenship is clear, and the duty to be a faithful citizen is continuous. It’s “a moral obligation,” “rooted in our baptismal commitment” and “inherent in the dignity of the human person.”
In other words, we can’t sit it out!
The coming weeks and months are an especially important time for civic engagement. Voters will elect members to all 140 seats in the Virginia General Assembly (100 in the House of Delegates and 40 in the Senate), as well as to other offices in some localities. Early voting begins September 22. The deadline to register to vote is October 16. Election Day is November 7.
The Virginia Catholic Conference (VCC) has developed resources to help you participate as faithful citizens in these vitally important decisions. Please visit the VCC Election Resource hub. There, you will find materials to help you register if you have not already done so, form your consciences and weigh issues, find your new state Senate and House of Delegates districts, and find the candidates. Parishes are encouraged to download, print and disseminate the VCC voter resources. Each resource is available in both English and Spanish.
Regarding candidates and new districts, this year the Virginia General Assembly districts are newly drawn, based on redistricting. In addition, many legislators are retiring rather than running again. Given these developments, keep in mind that your district numbers may have changed and candidates you’ve considered in the past may not be on your ballot this year.
What qualities will your elected state senator and delegate have? What values will they bring to the General Assembly in 2024 and beyond? What will their priorities be? Your votes will help shape the answers to these questions.
This election season and beyond, participate in promoting the common good by taking an active part in public life. Being a faithful citizen is an integral part of who Christ calls you to be.
Jeff Caruso is the executive director of the Virginia Catholic Conference (VCC). The VCC represents the dioceses of Arlington and Richmond in advocating for public policy that reflects natural law, advances human dignity and serves the common good. It primarily addresses public policy issues in Virginia, but also supports the efforts of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to address federal policy issues.