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Periodic elections are held in Charlottesville and Albemarle County for their citizens to elect local, state, and national offices. Currently, all elections are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Primary and special elections are held as needed.

For future election schedules and calendar dates, see City of Charlottesville Ten Year Election Calendar & Schedule

Elections are administered by the Registrar of Voters and Electoral Board in each jurisdiction, with guidelines from the State Board of Elections and the federal government where applicable.

The current election system in Charlottesville is composed of five members of City Council elected in staggered, citywide elections, with each Councilor serving a four-year term. Beginning in 2007, this cycle shifted to odd-numbered years with the municipal election occurring concurrently with the November general election (thus, three new members were elected in November 2007 and two in November 2009). Prior to 2007 these officials were selected in spring municipal elections - three in even-numbered “presidential” years and two in even-numbered “off” years (for example, three members were elected in 2004, two were elected in 2006).

2020 election cycle

There were no local offices up for election in 2020, but there were two constitutional questions, Congressional races, and a presidential contest.

Political parties

See also: List of political action committees

To be listed on the ballot for City Council, candidates must either be nominated by one of the two recognized political parties, or file a petition with the signatures of 125 registered City voters. Candidates may also seek election through “write-in” ballots.

Local election history

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Charlottesville held local elections in May until 2008, when they were moved to the November election day. View index of articles on past elections.

Elections were held Tuesday, November 3, 2017 for two seats on the Charlottesville City Council and three districts in Albemarle County - the Rio District, Jack Jouett District and Samuel Miller District.

Charlottesville Elections Studies

Albemarle Electoral Board

Campaign finance requirements in Virginia

While federal laws regulate the use of money in federal elections (i.e., presidential and congressional elections), the states themselves implement and enforce campaign finance laws for state-level candidates (such as city council and state legislators). Virginia has one of the least restrictive and policed campaign finance systems in the country, with lawmakers only barred from using campaign funds for personal use once they close out their accounts.[2]

The commonwealth of Virginia is the only state that currently allows unlimited personal use of campaign dollars, according to the campaign finance reform group American Promise. [3]


  1. Web. Electoral Board, Albemarle County, retrieved September 25, 2020.
  2. Web. Could Virginia pass campaign finance reform this year?, ASSOCIATED PRESS / The Virginia-Pilot, FEB 17, 2021 AT 9:10 AM, retrieved April 21, 2021.
  3. Web. Virginia Becomes 22nd State Supporting Constitutional Amendment Efforts, February 3, 2021, retrieved April 20, 2021.

External links