It’s June and at Charlottesville Tomorrow we’re already reporting on the November election. Why? Because representation matters.

This year, Virginia’s 5th Congressional District can choose to re-elect the incumbent congressman or replace him with someone else. You will be impacted by the actions your representative takes, so we seek to elevate your voice and your questions through our journalism.

Charlottesville Tomorrow was chosen with 21 other newsrooms from across the country to participate in the 2022 Democracy SOS Fellowship. This is the first year of the program, created by Hearken and Solutions Journalism Network, to explore best practices in government coverage.

Between statistics, polling, debates, and political fandom, elections and election coverage can feel like sports. But how things turn out is not entertainment, it’s not a game. There is so much more at stake when it comes to our democracy.

That’s part of why I applied to this competitive fellowship in the first place. Since early March, I’ve met with the cohort virtually with our editor-in-chief, Angilee Shah, to learn with and from each other, to re-imagine what our coverage of government could be.

Armed with the mission of Charlottesville Tomorrow to empower our community, we’ve devised a plan for our election coverage this year. And though their names or faces will appear in ads and yard signs in the months ahead, Republican Representative Bob Good and Democratic challenger Josh Throneburg will not be driving our coverage —  you will.

To start, we created a one-question survey: What do you want your candidates to be talking about?

We will put your questions to Good and Throneburg. We’ll use your answers to decide how to focus our reporting, so that you can choose how to vote or campaign, but also to deepen the accountability we can and should demand from our elected representatives.

One last thing: Please bookmark the  2022 Voter Guide. It’s already got candidate profiles and between now and November, we’ll update it with FAQs, voter information and key dates. It will also be a home for coverage of the key issues that you identify.

So, stay tuned to your election coverage!