The politics of Virginia reflect a state that is beginning to experience a conflict between its increasingly liberal northern region and its traditionally conservative southern region. 
After the American Civil War (1861–1865), Virginia was in political turmoil. Forty-eight counties, which created the state of West Virginia in 1863, were about to be joined by two more. The Commonwealth of Virginia unsuccessfully appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
After U.S. Senator William Mahone and the Readjuster Party lost control of Virginia politics around 1883, white Democrats regained the state legislature. They proceeded to use statute and a new constitution in 1901, with provisions such as a poll tax, residency requirements, and literacy test to disfranchise most African Americans and many poor whites. Their disfranchisement lasted until after passage of civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s.
White Democrats created a one-party state, with a nearly unchallenged majority of state and most federal offices through the middle of the 20th century. The Byrd Organization headed by Harry F. Byrd Sr. largely controlled statewide politics. Through their leadership and activism in the Civil Rights Movement, African Americans gained national support for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which provided Federal oversight and enforcement to maintain all citizens' ability to vote. Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, decisions affecting elections are subject to preclearance by the U.S. Department of Justice before they can take effect.
In 2007, the Virginia General Assembly proposed Civil Remedial Fees or "abusive driver fees" were fines that could exceed $1,000 for certain moving violations. The proposal had gained bi-partisan support as a way to generate revenue while not increasing taxes. An online petition to oppose the bill quickly gathered nearly 100,000 signatures.  These were repealed one year later in 2008 and fees were refunded. 
Dozens of delegates run unopposed each election cycle, which led 2001 Libertarian gubernatorial candidate and former national LP chair Bill Redpath to conclude that "Virginia has a democracy that is uncompetitive and boring."  Redpath proposed eliminating the 40 single-member districts and have all state senators run state-wide, with the top 40 candidates with the highest vote count getting elected. However, this proposal would give more power to the highly populated urban areas of the state, and thus has little chance of statewide support. 
|2016||44.33% 1,769,443||49.75% 1,981,473|
|2012||47.28% 1,822,522||51.16% 1,971,820|
|2008||46.33% 1,725,005||52.63% 1,959,532|
|2004||53.68% 1,716,959||45.48% 1,454,742|
|2000||52.47% 1,437,490||44.44% 1,217,290|
|1996||47.10% 1,138,350||45.15% 1,091,060|
|1992||44.97% 1,150,517||40.59% 1,038,650|
|1988||59.74% 1,309,162||39.23% 859,799|
|1984||62.29% 1,337,078||37.09% 796,250|
|1980||53.03% 989,609||40.31% 752,174|
Over the 20th century, Virginia shifted from a largely rural, politically Southern and conservative state to a more urbanized, pluralistic, and politically moderate environment. Up until the 1970s, Virginia was a racially divided one-party state dominated by the Byrd Organization.  The legacy of slavery in the state effectively disfranchised African Americans until after passage of civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s.  Enfranchisement and immigration of other groups, especially Hispanics, have placed growing importance on minority voting,  while voters that identify as "white working-class" declined by three percent between 2008 and 2012.  Regional differences play a large part in Virginia politics.  Rural southern and western areas moved to support the Republican Party in response to its " southern strategy", while urban and growing suburban areas, including much of Northern Virginia and recently, Richmond City form the Democratic Party base.   Democratic support also persists in union-influenced Roanoke in Southwest Virginia, college towns such as Charlottesville and Blacksburg, and the southeastern Black Belt Region. 
Political party strength in Virginia has likewise been in flux. In the 2007 state elections, Democrats regained control of the State Senate, and narrowed the Republican majority in the House of Delegates to eight seats.  Yet elections in 2009 resulted in the election of Republican Bob McDonnell as Governor by a seventeen-point margin, the election of a Republican Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General, as well as Republican gains of six seats in the House of Delegates.  In 2011, the Republican caucus took over two-thirds (68–32) of the seats in the House of Delegates, and a majority of the Senate based on the Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling as the tie-breaker.  Following the 2013 elections, Democrat Terry McAuliffe was elected Governor by two percentage points,   and Democrat Ralph Northam was elected Lieutenant Governor by double digits.   Republicans, however, maintained their super-majority (68–32) in the House of Delegates.   State election seasons traditionally start with the annual Shad Planking event in Wakefield. 
In federal elections since 2006, both parties have seen successes. Republican Senator George Allen lost close races in 2006, to Democratic newcomer Jim Webb, and again in 2012, to Webb's replacement, former Governor Tim Kaine.  In 2008, Democrats won both United States Senate seats; former Governor Mark Warner was elected to replace retiring Republican John Warner.  The state went Republican in 11 out of 12 presidential elections from 1948 to 2004, including 10 in a row from 1968 to 2004. However, Democrat Barack Obama carried Virginia's 13 electoral votes in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.  In the 2010 elections, Republicans won three United States House of Representatives seats from the Democrats. Of the state's eleven seats in the House of Representatives, Republicans hold seven and Democrats hold four. Despite being won by both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Virginia is considered a moderately red state in presidential elections. 
Although Democrat Hillary Clinton carried the presidential election statewide in 2016, the Congressional Districts continue to return a majority of Republican Representatives. A Federal District Court redrew the malapportioned 3rd District as violating the Voting Rights Act for the 2016 election. That allowed Virginians to choose in an additional black Representative from the 4th District, and added one to the Democratic total. 
- Government of Virginia
- Elections in Virginia
- List of politics by U.S. state
- Republican Party of Virginia
- Democratic Party of Virginia
- Libertarian Party of Virginia
- Independent Greens of Virginia
- Law of Virginia
- Shad Planking
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- Va. Driver Fees Now Election Weapon, Tim Craig, The Washington Post, July 17, 2007.
- Abusive Driver Fees Refunds (Report). Virginia Department of Accounts. Retrieved 2016-05-21.
- Bill Redpath, Libertarian Candidate for Virginia Governor, The Washington Post, Oct. 12, 2001.
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- "2013: Virginia House of Delegates election results". Virginia Board of Elections. November 12, 2013. Archived from the original on November 9, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
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- Kumar, Anita (November 5, 2008). "Warner Rolls Past His Fellow Former Governor". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 5, 2008.
- Balz, Dan (October 12, 2007). "Painting America Purple". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 24, 2007.
- Virginia’s 4th Congressional District election, 2016 Ballotpedia: the Encyclopedia of American Politics. viewed November 13, 2016.