Democratic presidential candidates campaign in General Assembly races; Two state prison guards charged for smuggling drugs into facility and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• About 111,000 voters requested absentee ballots this year. As of Friday, nearly 62,000 of them had been cast  already approaching the 78,000 cast in the last comparable election. – WRIC  
• “U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar campaigned alongside Virginia legislative candidates Sunday. They are the latest visits by Democratic presidential hopefuls as the state has become a must-visit destination.” – Associated Press
• National groups and activists are hoping Democratic legislative victories here will lead to Virginia becoming the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. “Women don’t have equal rights in the US Constitution? That’s insane!” actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus tweeted earlier this month, along with an appeal to donate to a slate of state candidates. – Associated Press
• “Elections officials have tossed the voter registrations of George Mason University students who used a general campus address in their applications, prompting complaints from voting rights advocates.” – The Washington Post
• The husband of a woman killed in the Virginia Beach mass shooting says he’s “very upset” to find himself quoted on a campaign mailer for Sen. Bill DeSteph, R-Virginia Beach. “They asked me if I wanted to be in a commercial with Bill, and I said no.” – WTKR
• A member of the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission who called homosexuality an abomination in Facebook posts said he plans to resign his position on the board. – The Virginian-Pilot
• Virginia Beach tentatively reached an agreement with developers on how to pay for a $325 million surf park and entertainment venue. The proposed financing package plows $95 million in tax dollars into the project. – The Virginian-Pilot
• A surge of retirements from the Fairfax County School Board has set up an unusually vicious partisan fight in this year’s elections. – The Washington Post
• Two guards working at Red Onion State Prison, a supermax facility in Wise County, are charged with smuggling drugs and tobacco into the facility. – Bristol Herald Courier
• A delivery van manufacturer says it will hire 700 people when it opens a new plant in Danville. The company will move into a facility Ikea, which had made shelving in the city, plans to vacate later this year. – The Danville Register & Bee
• Researchers at Old Dominion University visited three Norfolk neighborhoods to paint lines in yards and streets to show exactly how far sea level rise is expected to encroach on the city in 2050, 2080 and 2100. – The Virginian-Pilot
• Drought aside, this season’s grape crop did just fine, much to the relief of Virginia wine producers and drinkers. – The Daily Progress
• A private landfill in Henrico has been burning since early Saturday morning. “It’s such a large mountain of debris. And we do not know how deep-seated the fire is. We have to dig and dig and dig until there is no fire.” – Richmond Times-Dispatch

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