It’s Election Day in the United States and there are several critical elections with LGBTI candidates taking place.
While it’s not a presidential election nor next year’s critical midterm elections, local and statewide elections are just as important. Even more, they often see far less voter turnout, despite the direct impact they have on legislation.
Here are 7 elections today to pay attention to — and, if you’re in these locations, get out there and vote.
1. Danica Roem – Virginia
In June, Roem won the Democratic primary election for the Virginia House of Delegates District 13. This district is located in Prince William County of northern Virginia.
If she wins today, she’ll become the state’s first transgender person elected to the legislature. She faces incumbent Bob Marshall, who has a staunch anti-LGBTI history. High-profile organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and also people like Joe Biden endorse her.
2. Cathy Woolard – Georgia
Woolard, an out lesbian politician, is running to become the mayor of Atlanta. She faces seven other candidates vying for the seat left vacant by Kasim Reed, who has decided not to run again. If no candidate wins the majority today, there will be a runoff election on 5 December.
Elsewhere in Atlanta, Liliana Bakhtiari is also running for City Council. She could become the first LGBTI Muslim elected to a US office.
3. Sophia Hawes-Tingey – Utah
Another person running for a mayoral position is Sophia Hawes-Tingey. She’s fighting to be elected mayor of Midvale, which is a suburb of Salt Lake City. If she wins, she’ll become the first transgender person elected to office in Utah.
The Victory Fund endorses the Navy veteran, who is also a member of the Women’s State Legislative Council.
4. Jenny Durkan – Washington
A final mayoral race to watch is Seattle. Durkan, a former federal prosecutor appointed by President Obama, faces Cary Moon in the general election today, after former mayor Ed Murray resigned following sexual abuse allegations.
Regardless of who wins between Durkan and Moon, the city will have its first female mayor since the 1920s. If Durkan wins — and polls show her ahead — she will become Seattle’s first out lesbian mayor.
5. Luis Lopez – California
Lopez is vying for a seat in the California Assembly’s 51st District. Xavier Becerra vacated the seat when he became state attorney general following Kamala Harris’ election to the US Senate.
Lopez faces off against fellow Democratic candidate Wendy Carrillo. Lopez, who is openly gay, co-founded Honor PAC, the nation’s first Latinx LGBTI political action committee. He also served on the Planned Parenthood LA board for seven years.
6. Andrea Jenkins and Philippe Cunningham – Minnesota
Jenkins and Cunningham are two transgender candidates running for City Council seats in one of Minnesota’s Twin Cities, Minneapolis. Both candidates are endorsed by the Victory Fund and if either wins, they would become the first transgender person elected to a major metropolitan city council in the US.
Jenkins is running for a seat in the Eighth Ward and Cunningham in the Fourth.
7. Lisa Middleton – California
Continuing an inspiring trend of transgender candidates, Middleton is running for City Council in Palm Springs. If she wins, she’ll become the first transgender person elected to a nonjudicial position in the state. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Desert LGBTQ Center.
Other elections to pay attention to are the gubernatorial races of both Virginia and New Jersey.
While no candidate here identifies as LGBTI, the Democratic candidates of both, Ralph Northam in VA and Phil Murphy in NJ, face off against anti-LGBTI Republican candidates. Both have mostly positive LGBTI records and given the importance of state governors, these elections are crucial.
There are several more elections happening in the country today with LGBTI candidates, such as Jeffrey Payne, the gay business owner running for Texas governor.
You can find out more information about each state’s elections at Ballotpedia.