What you need to know about the 4th District special election

Several Democratic candidates have thrown their hats in the ring to fill Donald McEachin’s seat in the House of Representatives.

A hand holds a sticker that says "my vote counted" and an RICtoday sticker.

A special election for VA-04 will take place in February.

Photo by RICtoday

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ELECTION RESULT UPDATE: Democrat Jennifer McClellan defeated Republican Leon Benjamin in yesterday’s Special Election to fill the vacant US House of Representatives seat in the 4th District. 02/21/2023

The death of Congressman and longtime Richmond government figure Donald McEachin in late November has left a vacant seat in the House of Representatives. There will be a special election on Tuesday, Feb. 21 to determine who will represent the 4th District.

Here’s what you need to know before then.

🗳 Who can vote in this election?

Registered voters in the 4th District, which is made up of the City of Richmond, parts of Henrico and Chesterfield counties, the City of Petersburg, and other localities.

In November, McEachin won reelection against the Republican challenger Leon Benjamin, receiving ~65% of votes cast.

✅ Who will be on the ballot?

Several Democrats announced plans to seek the nomination, including State Senator Jennifer McClellan and State Senator Joe Morrissey.

On Monday night, the district’s Democratic Committee voted to hold a Firehouse Primary on Tuesday, Dec. 20 to determine a nominee. This kind of primary — also known as an unassembled caucus — allows any Democrat in the district to cast a ballot. Check the voting locations to participate.

ABC8 reported that Leon Benjamin and Dale Sturdifen, a former Mecklenburg County School Board chairman, would run for the Republican nomination.

Jennifer McClellan (D) and Leon Benjamin (R) gained each party’s nomination after the primary process.

🏙 How do I vote?

The special election is set for Tuesday, Feb. 21. On that day, voters can go to their polling place to cast a ballot.

Early and absentee voting started on Saturday, Jan. 7 and goes through Saturday, Feb. 18. To vote early in Richmond, bring a valid ID to an early voting polling stationin the city, that’ll be the Office of Elections at 2134 W. Laburnum Ave. — or apply for a mail-in ballot by Friday, Feb. 10.

A satellite early voting location opens at Hickory Hill Recreation Center (3000 E. Belt Blvd.) starting Jan. 30.

🗓 What are the important dates?

Mark these dates from the VA Dept. of Elections on your calendar.

  • Friday, Dec. 23 | Each party’s nomination is due by 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, Jan. 7 | Early voting starts
  • Friday, Feb. 10 | Deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot
  • Tuesday, Feb. 14 | Deadline to register to vote or update registration (but remember that Virginia now has same-day registration)
  • Saturday, Feb. 18 | Last day of in-person early voting
  • Tuesday, Feb. 21 | Date of special election

Check out our voting guide to make sure you’re good to go before special election day.

This article has been updated to include primary results and early voting information.