Election Day Live Updates: Polls Close in Virginia; Result Is Expected to Signal Nation’s Mood

Voters are deciding governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey, several key mayor’s races across the country and a referendum on policing in Minneapolis. Follow along for the latest results and analysis.

Nov. 2, 2021, 7:52 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 7:52 p.m. ET

Tracey Tully

A judge rejected a request to keep polls open in New Jersey until 9:30 p.m. He said it would cause disarray, and there’s no proof that voters were turned away because of snags with the new electronic poll books.

Nov. 2, 2021, 7:45 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 7:45 p.m. ET

Nate Cohn

It’s still early in Virginia. Youngkin has an early lead. That may be deceptive. So far, we mainly have heavily Republican Election Day vote. Over all, 12 percent of Election Day votes have been counted by the state, compared to just 5 percent of early and 2 percent of absentee votes.

Nov. 2, 2021, 7:38 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 7:38 p.m. ET

Nate Cohn

It’s early, but so far more than 100 precincts have reported in Virginia and they’re generally consistent with a highly competitive race with a very high turnout.

Credit…Melissa Lyttle for The New York Times

Nov. 2, 2021, 7:37 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 7:37 p.m. ET
Thomas O’Connor, left, thinks Mr. Youngkin would be a better steward of the state’s education policy.Credit…Kenny Holston for The New York Times

CENTREVILLE, Va. — In Northern Virginia’s Fairfax County, which in the last decade has become among the nation’s most reliable Democratic bastions, few precincts are more closely divided than the one that votes at Virginia Run Elementary School in Centreville.

In 2016, Donald J. Trump beat Hillary Clinton there by 75 votes out of 1,746 cast. A year later, as the first laps of the coming Democratic wave swept Ralph Northam into the governor’s office, Mr. Northam lost the Virginia Run precinct to his Republican opponent, Ed Gillespie, by 80 votes out of 1,410 cast.

Fairfax County didn’t separate 2020 absentee votes by precinct, making a comparison for that year difficult, but Mr. Trump did handily win the in-person vote last year at Virginia Run.

On Tuesday afternoon, as volunteers from the local Democratic and Republican parties offered sample ballots on the sidewalk, a steady stream of voters reflected the neighborhood’s split.

Thomas O’Connor, a 39-year-old attorney and father of five children, said he backed the Republican candidate, Glenn Youngkin, for governor because he is concerned the Democrat, Terry McAuliffe, would reduce parental influence over the local schools.

Mr. O’Connor, 39, said he’s been happy with his children’s education — one is in college and the four others attend local public schools — but said Mr. Youngkin would be a better steward of the state’s education policy.

“He’s going to allow more parents’ voice, parents will have an opportunity to be heard,” Mr. O’Connor said. “Terry McAuliffe and the Democratic Party are trying to limit parental involvement.”

There were signs, however, that Mr. McAuliffe’s efforts to tie Mr. Youngkin to Mr. Trump had convinced some voters.

Gordon Hall, 29, a speech pathology student who said he cast his first ballot for Mitt Romney in 2012, said he couldn’t vote for Mr. Youngkin or for any Republican who fails to denounce Mr. Trump.

“I want to avoid the Republican Party for now because Trump’s hold on them is so strong,” he said. “Terry McAuliffe, he’s fine, but Trump is just a stain on Republicans now.”

Nov. 2, 2021, 7:36 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 7:36 p.m. ET

Richard Fausset

Reporting from Atlanta

In Atlanta, a runoff is likely in this crowded mayor’s race. Mayor Kasim Reed and council president Felicia Moore have polled well. A wildcard: Andre Dickens, a critic of Reed’s.

Nov. 2, 2021, 7:36 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 7:36 p.m. ET

Trip Gabriel

Reporting from Richmond

Democratic strategists in Chesterfield County last week told me they did not expect McAuliffe to win there, even though Biden carried the traditionally conservative region.

Nov. 2, 2021, 7:36 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 7:36 p.m. ET

Jeff Mays

Reporting from New York

All is quiet here at the New York Marriott where Eric Adams is set to hold his election night party. “I think we’re going to win,” joked one adviser to the likely next mayor.

Nov. 2, 2021, 7:29 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 7:29 p.m. ET
Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate for governor, was at a rally of African American leaders in Richmond, where Black residents make up 40 percent of the population.Credit…Carlos Bernate for The New York Times

Democrats’ historic margins in Virginia in recent years are suddenly looking as though they may have been the result not of an inexorable demographic tide, but of a furious resistance to Donald J. Trump — one that exaggerated the true strength of the Democratic Party in a state that could be returning to its previous role as a battleground.

Without Mr. Trump in office, Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic governor seeking a new term in that post, is fighting for his political life, four years after the current Democratic governor coasted to a 9-point win.

Greater Richmond, including the capital city and its diversifying suburbs, is the second-fastest-growing region in the state and a key to the governor’s race, as well as to control of the Legislature.

A poll released last week by Christopher Newport University suggested that Democrats were falling well short in the region. While it mirrored most other polls in showing the governor’s race deadlocked statewide, it said Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate, had pulled away from Mr. McAuliffe in the Richmond media market — an area extending beyond the city and its populous suburbs into rural counties.

For Mr. McAuliffe to prevail in greater Richmond, Democrats need to drive up turnout in the city; maintain their gains of the past 15 years in Henrico County, north and east of the city; and not cede too much ground in Chesterfield County, which includes more conservative western suburbs.

Nov. 2, 2021, 7:27 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 7:27 p.m. ET

Jennifer Medina

Republicans tried to make critical race theory a central part of the Virginia governor’s race, but parents’ anger over schools may have had more to do with pandemic shutdowns.

Nov. 2, 2021, 7:24 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 7:24 p.m. ET

Reid Epstein

Reporting from Northern Virginia

Fairfax is usually among Virginia’s last counties to report final results in statewide elections and has in past elections given Democratic candidates a boost at the end of election nights.

Credit…Kenny Holston for The New York Times
Nov. 2, 2021, 7:23 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 7:23 p.m. ET

Reid Epstein

Reporting from Northern Virginia

Fairfax County is delayed in reporting its early vote ballots. We do not know when we are expecting those ballots to be counted, but it will not be by the self-imposed 8 p.m. deadline.

Nov. 2, 2021, 7:22 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 7:22 p.m. ET

Nate Cohn

For Youngkin to win, he’s going to need it all: a favorable turnout and gains across the state. But there are two big counties he all but must flip back: Virginia Beach and Chesterfield, outside Richmond.

Nov. 2, 2021, 7:18 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 7:18 p.m. ET

Shane Goldmacher

In the final tally, $66.3 million was spent on television ads in the Virginia governor’s race general election, according to AdImpact. Democrats spent more: $34.6 million to $31.7 million.

Nov. 2, 2021, 7:18 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 7:18 p.m. ET

Richard Fausset

Reporting from Atlanta

In Atlanta, the focus is on former Mayor Kasim Reed, a familiar figure burdened by his administration’s scandals. The question is whether his high name recognition will trump high negatives.

Credit…Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times

Nov. 2, 2021, 7:13 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 7:13 p.m. ET
President Biden argued on Tuesday that the lack of progress on his agenda was not dragging down former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate for governor in Virginia.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

President Biden on Tuesday predicted a Democratic victory in the Virginia governor’s race and contended that the status of his domestic agenda was not a major factor in the contest.

The Democratic candidate, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, was locked in a tight race with his Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin, even though Mr. Biden carried the state by 10 percentage points in last year’s election. A victory for Mr. Youngkin would be a perilous indicator of the Democratic Party’s standing heading into next year’s midterm elections.

“We’re going to win,” Mr. Biden said at a news conference in Glasgow after he was asked about the contest. But he conceded that the race was “very close” and said that “the off-year is always unpredictable.”

Mr. McAuliffe sought election against a backdrop of Democratic infighting in Washington, where lawmakers have been wrangling over the size and scope of Mr. Biden’s proposed social policy bill. The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill has been stalled in the House after passing the Senate in August, and Mr. Biden’s approval ratings have fallen.

As the election approached, Mr. McAuliffe all but pleaded with lawmakers in his party to pass the infrastructure bill, which would have given Democrats a major accomplishment to highlight to voters.

“We are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington,” Mr. McAuliffe said in October, adding, “The president is unpopular today, unfortunately, here in Virginia, so we have got to plow through.”

But Mr. Biden, who was attending the U.N. climate conference in Scotland, argued on Tuesday that the lack of progress on his agenda was not dragging down Mr. McAuliffe.

“I don’t believe and I’ve not seen any evidence that whether or not I am doing well or poorly, whether or not I’ve got my agenda passed or not, is going to have any real impact on winning or losing,” Mr. Biden said. “Even if we had passed my agenda, I wouldn’t claim we won because Biden’s agenda passed.”

Nov. 2, 2021, 7:12 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 7:12 p.m. ET
The early morning technology glitches were reported at isolated polling spots.Credit…Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Voters in New Jersey may get an extra 90 minutes to cast ballots Tuesday night.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and the League of Women Voters filed an application with State Superior Court on Tuesday evening, asking that polling locations be kept open until 9:30 p.m. The extension, they said, would offset morning delays linked to problems connecting new electronic polling books to the internet.

“The late opening of numerous polling locations spread across the state and ongoing operational issues throughout the day has resulted in dozens of voters being turned away, asked to return later, or leaving because of the long waits,” the court filing stated.

This year, for the first time, voters in New Jersey were able to cast ballots early on machines over nine days.

The new system utilized tablet-like devices known as e-poll books, which require internet connectivity.

Early morning technology glitches were reported at isolated polling spots in Piscataway, Long Branch and Dunellen, among other towns. The delays were linked mainly to an unfamiliarity with the new technology by poll workers, not hardware problems, election officials said.

But it did lead to frustration, and lines.

The emergency request is expected to lead to a possible court hearing with representatives of the two leading candidates for governor, Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, and Jack Ciattarelli, a Republican. It was unclear when a decision might be made by a Superior Court judge in Mercer County, where the application was filed.

Most of the state’s roughly 3,400 polling sites operated smoothly, according to Alicia D’Alessandro, a spokeswoman for New Jersey’s secretary of state, the top election official.

“If any voters were unable to vote due to these issues, we encourage them to return to their polling location and cast a ballot,” Ms. D’Alessandro said late Tuesday morning.

Jeanne LoCicero, legal director for the A.C.L.U. of New Jersey, said the goal was to make sure that anyone who wanted to vote was able to do so.

“We know there were systemic problems and we want to make sure that everyone has a chance to cast their ballot,” Ms. LoCicero said.

Nov. 2, 2021, 7:11 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 7:11 p.m. ET

Nate Cohn

Democrats might jump to an early lead in Virginia, where counties are now allowed to pre-process absentee votes. That should allow for quick reporting of votes that are expected to be heavily Democratic.

Nov. 2, 2021, 7:00 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 7:00 p.m. ET
Polls closed in Virginia at 7 p.m. but anyone who was in line by 7 p.m. can vote.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

The polls are now closed in Virginia, ending a bitterly fought and unexpectedly close governor’s race between Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, and Glenn Youngkin, a Republican. (If you’re waiting at your polling place, though, stay there — anyone who was in line by 7 p.m. can vote.)

Just a few months ago, few people expected the race to be particularly competitive. Virginia has become much bluer in the past decade or so. In 2017, when Gov. Ralph Northam defeated his Republican opponent Ed Gillespie, the race was called before 9 p.m., and last year, it was called for President Biden barely half an hour after the polls closed.

But tonight is likely to be much longer.

Polls in the final days of the race showed a dead heat, and the race could end up being decided by a couple of percentage points or less. That means we may not know who won until well after midnight.

If you plan to follow the results in real time, keep in mind that they will almost certainly shift as the night goes on.

That’s a normal consequence of geography (conservative counties in southwestern Virginia tend to start reporting before the Democratic strongholds of Northern Virginia) as well as the partisan divide in who votes by mail and who votes in person.

Nov. 2, 2021, 6:49 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 6:49 p.m. ET

Dana Rubinstein

Polls close in New York City in about two hours. Anecdotally, turnout appears low, which is unlikely to affect the outcome of the mayor’s race. But it could affect some down-ballot contests.

Nov. 2, 2021, 6:40 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 6:40 p.m. ET

Timothy Arango

Minneapolis recorded the most homicides since the mid-1990s last year. As voters weigh whether to replace the city’s police department, many are caught between two beliefs — that policing needs to be drastically reformed, and that more policing is needed to confront the surge in gun violence.

Credit…Carlos Barria/Reuters

Nov. 2, 2021, 6:39 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 6:39 p.m. ET
Dan Helmer made his pitch through a video security system as he tried to reach voters who hadn’t been paying all that much attention to this year’s political campaigns.Credit…Reid J. Epstein/ The New York Times

HAYMARKET, Va. — By the time Election Day comes, there’s not much left for the candidates to do. They invite the news cameras to watch them cast ballots, glad-hand voters outside polling places and do a couple last-minute interviews urging supporters to vote.

Dan Helmer, a Democrat seeking his second term in a Virginia House of Delegates district that had been represented by Republicans for decades before he was elected in 2019 on a platform of implementing gun control measures, spent a rainy afternoon going door-to-door in search of the sort of voters his party’s political algorithm determined were least likely to vote.

He drove around Prince William County, through neighborhoods of large homes, some with tennis courts or full-size soccer fields in their yards, making a final pitch to voters who hadn’t been paying all that much attention to this year’s political campaigns.

“I’m for whoever the Democratic nominee is,” said Liz Fallah, a 34-year-old analyst for a federal contractor who answered the door while cradling a laptop computer in one arm. She was in the middle of a video conference meeting and said she still planned to vote. “I didn’t realize this election was going on until we started getting the ads in the mail,” she said.

Some of the voters Mr. Helmer encountered thought Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic governor who spent the day at home with his family, was already the governor (he’s been out of office since 2018) or praised his response to the coronavirus pandemic (Gov. Ralph Northam has been responsible).

One voter, a consultant named Brad Clark, said he planned to cast his ballot for Mr. Helmer but, with just hours to go, he remained undecided on whether to back Mr. McAuliffe or his Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin.

“Terry, he has lots of experience and when he was governor before he did a good job,” Mr. Clark said. “Glenn Youngkin, he’s a businessman and there’s this controversy about parents and children and what’s being taught in the schools.”

Mr. Youngkin, a former private equity executive, has seized on conservatives’ concerns about instruction on race and the rights of transgender children to argue that Democrats want to come between parents and their children’s education.

Mr. Clark, 66, said he planned to look online and do a little more research on the schools issue before heading out to vote Tuesday evening.

Nov. 2, 2021, 6:29 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 6:29 p.m. ET

Ellen Barry

Reporting from Boston

Many Boston voters cited the need for affordable housing. “A lot of people realize they won’t be able to live in this city in 10 years if this continues,” said Andrew Conant, 28.

Nov. 2, 2021, 6:26 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 6:26 p.m. ET
In Virginia, all mail ballots postmarked by Election Day must be counted if they are received by the following Friday at noon.Credit…Kenny Holston for The New York Times

Expect it to be a late night in Virginia. And possibly a long week.

In 2020, President Biden won the state by 10 percentage points, and the race wasn’t called until well after midnight. No one expects the margin of victory for either Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, or Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate, to reach double digits, meaning a large percentage of the vote total will likely need to be counted before it is clear who won.

If the margin is fewer than 10,000 votes, Virginians may have to wait a few days. The state requires that all mail ballots postmarked by Election Day be counted if they are received by the following Friday at noon. In 2020, the count included 10,901 ballots that fell in that post-Election Day window.

And as voters navigate the relatively new early voting process, both campaigns expect an uptick in provisional ballots, which also can take days to be counted.

The state has made some improvements since the 2020 election.

Counties are now required to prepare their early absentee ballots for processing, meaning the ballots can be opened, checked for eligibility and scanned up to a week before Election Day. That is likely to help alleviate the type of bottlenecks in tabulating absentee votes that delayed the 2020 vote count.

So while it may take time for results to be counted, Virginia is not expected to repeat what happened in Pennsylvania in 2020, when election officials were restricted by law from getting a head start on processing early votes, leading to a delay in counting.

New York

In New York City, voters will likely not have to wait long at all. Eric Adams, the Democratic candidate, is the overwhelming favorite in the race to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio, and the election is expected to be called early in the night.

But for City Council seats and other closer races, the results could take some time. The New York City Board of Elections has not had a recent history of timely results or orderly counting. It took weeks for the agency to release certified election results in nearly all the races after the primary in June.

New Jersey

New Jersey expanded early voting this year and can expect an election night as swift as the one in New York. Gov. Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, has been maintaining a double-digit lead in his re-election bid for most of the year. Though that lead has waned slightly, there has not been any major swings to indicate a shift in support.

The state has also seen steady early voting, with nearly 500,000 people voting by mail as of Thursday. All those votes can be prepared and ready for tabulation on Election Day.


In Atlanta, the race to replace Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms — who decided not to seek re-election — is almost certainly headed to a runoff election. It may take late into the night to learn which candidates make it to the runoff.


The race that will give Boston its first female mayor appears headed to an early night. Michelle Wu has maintained a large lead over her opponent, Annissa Essaibi George, with recent polling from Suffolk University showing Ms. Wu with a 32-point advantage.

Nov. 2, 2021, 6:10 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 6:10 p.m. ET
Hala Ayala, pictured, is running against Winsome Sears to be Virginia’s lieutenant governor. The position has never before been held by a woman.Credit…Cliff Owen/Associated Press

Along with the governor’s contest, Virginians on Tuesday will separately choose a lieutenant governor, an attorney general and all 100 members of the state’s House of Delegates.

The new lieutenant governor, who is elected independently from the top of the ticket, will make history as the first woman to hold the office. Both major candidates are also people of color. The Democrat, Hala Ayala, is a two-term delegate from Prince William County who is of Salvadoran and Lebanese descent. The Republican, Winsome Sears, is a Black businesswoman who served one term in the House of Delegates two decades ago.

The state’s attorney general, Mark R. Herring, is a Democrat seeking his third term in office. Mr. Herring was widely expected to run for governor this year before it emerged that he, like Gov. Ralph Northam, had worn blackface during his college years.

Mr. Herring faces Jason Miyares, a Republican delegate from Virginia Beach and the son of a Cuban immigrant.

Democrats hold a 55 to 45 majority in the House of Delegates, though Republicans are optimistic they can take back the majority that Democrats won in the state’s 2019 elections. The last two years marked the first time in a generation that Democrats held unified control of Virginia’s state government.

Nov. 2, 2021, 5:53 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 5:53 p.m. ET

Jennifer Medina

When voting began this morning, nearly 1.2 million Virginians had already cast ballots. By comparison, 2.6 million voters turned out in 2017, the last time the state picked its governor.

Nov. 2, 2021, 5:53 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 5:53 p.m. ET

Shane Goldmacher

There are several interesting mayor’s races nationwide that pit more progressive versus more moderate Democrats, including in Boston, Seattle, Cleveland, Minneapolis and Buffalo

Nov. 2, 2021, 5:42 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 5:42 p.m. ET
The rapper and producer Missy Elliott urged voters to back a ballot measure that could result in the country’s only Black-owned casino.Credit…Lucas Jackson/Reuters

On a consequential Election Day in Virginia, voters in Richmond are deciding on Tuesday on a hotly contested ballot measure that could result in the country’s only Black-owned casino.

The proposed gambling facility would cost more than $500 million and be located on Richmond’s South Side, in a predominantly Black area that has long struggled with economic development.

Proponents of the casino argue that it could spur job creation and further business investment. Its critics say that it could siphon money from low-income residents while introducing other problems such as traffic congestion, late-night revelry and increased crime.

The casino would be owned by Urban One, a media group that caters to Black audiences and owns several radio and television stations. The project has been supported by Richmond’s mayor, a majority of City Council members, Gov. Ralph Northam and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is seeking to be elected governor once more on Tuesday.

Just this week, the rapper and producer Missy Elliott, a Virginia native, urged voters to back the project. The singer Anthony Hamilton also sent a message to his followers this week.

Even outside Richmond, some voters said the outcome of the casino referendum was their foremost concern. William Joyner, 54, who voted in Newport News, said he hoped the facility would be built.

“We’re all looking to Richmond,” he said. “A Black-owned casino? Just think if that was here.”

Nov. 2, 2021, 5:21 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 5:21 p.m. ET
Jacob Frey, who is running for a second term, and his wife, Sarah, vote as their daughter, Frida, waits nearby.Credit…Jenn Ackerman for The New York Times

MINNEAPOLIS — When Minneapolis was overwhelmed by protests last year after a police officer murdered George Floyd, Jacob Frey became one of the country’s most visible mayors.

On Tuesday, Mr. Frey and his vision for policing were both on the ballot. Voters were not only deciding whether to give the mayor a second term, but also whether to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new public safety agency.

Mr. Frey, who was heckled by protesters last year after rejecting calls to defund the police, has campaigned on the issue. Policing, he has argued, needs to be improved, but replacing the entire department would be counterproductive, especially at a time when violent crime is rising.

“When you tell the truth,” Mr. Frey said Tuesday before a lunchtime stop at an Eastern European deli. “You don’t cave and you keep an honest and steady approach, and chart a progressive path, people over time respect it and value it.”

Mr. Frey and his best-known challengers are all Democrats, but they have been sharply divided over the question of whether the Minneapolis Police Department is worth salvaging. Kate Knuth, a former state lawmaker running against Mr. Frey, has argued for a clean break with the current policing structure, calling for it to be replaced with a new public health-focused agency.

“I’ve been very clear: My vision of the Department of Public Safety absolutely includes police,” Ms. Knuth said after canvassing a dorm at the University of Minnesota. “But we need to dig in and not ask the police to do the things we don’t need them to do.”

Another mayoral candidate, Sheila Nezhad, who decided to run for mayor after working as a street medic during last year’s protests, said the election had the potential to send a national message about the need to rethink safety and law enforcement.

“Today, we’re really choosing the future of public safety,” Ms. Nezhad said as she waved to voters at an intersection on the city’s South Side. “We get to choose stepping forward into a world with more safety, more justice, away from the violent system of policing that has encompassed Minneapolis for 154 years.”

Nov. 2, 2021, 5:19 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 5:19 p.m. ET

Timothy Arango

Minneapolis will decide whether to keep or replace its long-troubled Police Department. I’m interested to see returns in North Minneapolis, which has high rates of gun violence and where many people want more police.

Nov. 2, 2021, 5:19 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 5:19 p.m. ET

Trip Gabriel

Reporting from Richmond

In Richmond, Va., a deep blue city, voters found many ways to say they’re nervous: “I’m really on pins and needles.” “I was hoping we’d be up by a higher margin.” “My anxiety level is high.”

Nov. 2, 2021, 5:13 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 5:13 p.m. ET
The closing argument ads for the two candidates make the most basic distinctions between the two candidates: a former popular governor and a rising outsider.Credit…Kenny Holston for The New York Times

One candidate for governor stands apart in a red vest amid a sea of men in suits walking like zombies, eager to proclaim himself an outsider.

The other appears in a suit with a lapel pin fit for a governor, a proud former official touting a track record of achievement in government.

The closing ads from the McAuliffe and Youngkin campaigns are not the overly emotive pitches so common in campaigns grasping for a connection in the homestretch of a long election. Instead, the ads are quick distillations of one of the most basic distinctions between the two candidates: a former popular governor, or a rising outsider.

The ad by Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate, focuses on three conservative issues animating the base of the party and bleeding into moderate voters’ concerns: public safety, education and lower taxes.

Though the campaign has centered on a caustic debate over mask mandates and how to teach racism in schools, Mr. Youngkin only makes a passing reference to these issues by lamenting “more government control.” Instead, he touches on crime, as a law enforcement officer is shown wading through the suited politicians to get to the front.

The candidate’s voice drives the ad. But the zombie politicians and Mr. Youngkin’s supporters get almost as much screen time as he does.

Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, appears first in his ad. He focuses the first half on bipartisanship and his record as governor from 2013 to 2017, boasting of “moving Virginia forward” through job creation and investment in education.

But the former governor pivots halfway through to talk about two key issues in his campaign: abortion rights and education funding.

Much like an address from a sitting official, the closing ad from the McAuliffe campaign provides a kind of response to the Youngkin ad. Mr. McAuliffe seems to proudly claim the mantle of a former elected official, conveying the message that he is more prepared for success than an outsider.

Nov. 2, 2021, 5:08 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 5:08 p.m. ET

By Elliot deBruyn and Niko Koppel

We spoke to residents of Chesterfield County, Va., about the issues that matter to them. This county was a Republican stronghold for 72 years until it turned blue in 2020.

Nov. 2, 2021, 5:04 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 5:04 p.m. ET

Tracey Tully

Concerns about voter turnout in New Jersey already had both campaigns for governor in overdrive. Then there were reports of tech snags that led to lines of frustrated voters.

Nov. 2, 2021, 5:04 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 5:04 p.m. ET

Jeremy W. Peters

Reporting from Virginia

Youngkin has managed to keep Trump at an arm’s length. If he wins, “Never Trump” Republicans and moderates will argue that Virginia is their new template. And Trump will likely claim victory.

Nov. 2, 2021, 4:57 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 4:57 p.m. ET
Around 400 people have been living in the tent camp along Southampton Street near the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard in Boston.Credit…M. Scott Brauer for The New York Times

BOSTON — Few of Boston’s policy dilemmas have been more thoroughly picked apart during its mayoral campaign than “Mass and Cass,” a sidewalk encampment of around 400 people, most struggling with drug addictions and mental illness.

The tent city, which took its name from its location at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, offered some accommodations for active drug users: The police tolerated open drug use, charitable groups distributed food and clean needles, and when someone overdosed, they could be quickly revived with Narcan.

As the tent city swelled in recent months, though, it became wilder and more dangerous, the site of prostitution and violent crime. And intense attention fell on it during the mayoral campaign, as candidates debated whether its inhabitants should be forced to leave.

City Hall’s conclusion was yes. Two weeks ago, Mayor Kim Janey announced that the tents would be cleared, and their inhabitants offered places at homeless shelters or referred to other services.

On the eve of the election, Bruce Perez, 34, a former Marine who had been living in the camp, was dumping his neighbors’ sodden possessions into a trash bin with a grim expression.

“They gave us Mass Ave. for a certain period of time — literally you were shooting up right in front of cops,” he said. “The crazy thing is, now they have decided to take it back.”

Mr. Perez wasn’t sure where his neighbors would end up, but he predicted that three-quarters of them would gravitate back to the streets eventually. A few, who had outstanding warrants, were brought before judges, and from there to jails or treatment facilities. Ms. Janey announced on Monday that 17 of the tent dwellers had “pathways to transitional housing.”

Others just scattered. Christie Joubert, a volunteer outreach worker, said some had told her they were “going into the woods in Cambridge,” and others “to find a train station.”

“What you can’t do is sprinkle disappearing ink on people,” she said. “Do we want them out there overdosing, or do we want them here?”

Drug law enforcement is often tied to political cycles, said Leo Beletsky, a Northeastern University law professor who specializes in drug policy and public health. He described the bursts of activity as “a little bit of theater to demonstrate that decision makers are being decisive and action-oriented” and said that resources would be better spent improving existing treatment options.

“The response is that we have to force them into these services, instead of asking, ‘How do we make these services better?'” he said.

Tasha Moncrief, whose 28-year-old son had been living in the tent city, has long argued that the city should clear the camp, which she says creates an “enabling cycle” by providing users with food, shelter and drug paraphernalia. She coaxed him into leaving the camp on Friday, and spent the weekend trying to admit him to a hospital, securing one on Monday.

She, too, was distressed as she watched the tent dwellers — familiar faces — disperse. She wasn’t sure they would be better off.

“They’re going to be somewhere,” she said. “They’re just not going to be at Mass and Cass.”

Nov. 2, 2021, 4:50 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 4:50 p.m. ET

Nate Cohn

There are signs of high turnout in Virginia, but not many clues about who may benefit. High turnout is assumed to help Democrats, but Republicans stand to gain if more white, working class voters go to the polls.

Nov. 2, 2021, 4:49 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 4:49 p.m. ET
Bobby Valentine, who once managed the New York Mets, is making an unaffiliated run for mayor in Stamford, Conn., against Caroline Simmons, a Democrat.Credit…Desiree Rios for The New York Times

In Connecticut’s fastest growing city, one of the two mayoral contenders received an endorsement from Barack Obama, burnishing a list of credentials that includes a degree from Harvard, four terms in the Legislature and a stint as a special projects director for the Department of Homeland Security.

But that contender, Caroline Simmons, 35, a Democrat vying to become the first female mayor of Stamford, is facing a uniquely vexing obstacle in Tuesday’s election, a celebrity candidate with name recognition that extends far beyond Interstate 95: Bobby Valentine.

It’s a name that needs no introduction to sports fans, even nearly two decades after Mr. Valentine managed the New York Mets, including a World Series loss to the Yankees.

Dubbed “Bobby V” in tabloid headlines, he once disguised himself with a fake mustache in the Mets dugout after being ejected from a game. He also claims to have invented the sandwich wrap.

Mr. Valentine, 71, who lasted just one season in 2012 as the manager of the Boston Red Sox, has never held elective office.

He is an unaffiliated candidate, and made it on the ballot by getting 188 signatures on a petition — 1 percent of the voters in the last election. But his outsize presence, which includes his own hip-hop jingle telling voters where to find him on the ballot (on Row F “so fresh”) has drawn national intrigue and an influx of money to the race.

Democrats, who have controlled the mayor’s office for all but four of the past 26 years in Stamford, the state’s second-largest city after Bridgeport, ratcheted up their criticism of Mr. Valentine in the final weeks of the campaign.

They drew attention to a video of Mr. Valentine telling supporters, “If you’re not owning, you’re not caring,” which they said was a put-down of renters in the city of 135,000 people. Democrats also panned Mr. Valentine over a lawsuit he filed in state Superior Court in 2020 against the city of Stamford, contesting his property tax assessment for 2019.

Most recently, Ms. Simmons and her supporters rebuked Mr. Valentine for referring to her as “a 35-year-old girl” in an interview with The Associated Press, a reference they said was misogynistic.

Last week, Mr. Valentine sought to contextualize the comment. “When I said that my competition was a girl,” he told WNPR, “I was referring to her private education in a neighboring city when she was in elementary school, junior high school and high school, and if I offended anyone by mentioning her hometown or that she was referred to as a girl when she was in high school, I totally apologize for that.”

Nov. 2, 2021, 4:47 p.m. ETNov. 2, 2021, 4:47 p.m. ET

By The New York Times

In one last push for votes, challengers and incumbents greeted supporters and cast their ballots on the final day of their campaigns for mayor.

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