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    Direction: Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words/phrases are printed in bold to help you to locate them while answering some of the questions.

    VIRGINIA once again has celebrated its carnival of noncompetition and nonparticipation, otherwise known as Election Day. In voting for the General Assembly on Tuesday, the commonwealth distinguished itself by offering the vast majority of voters no choice whatsoever, in the form of incumbent lawmakers running unopposed in districts painstakingly drawn to ensure a cakewalk to re-election.
    In this week’s balloting, a Republican faced a Democrat in just 49 of the state’s 140 races for the state Senate and House of Delegates. Even in those races, most were contests in name only, with an average victory margin of nearly 20 percentage points.
    All 100 seats in the House were on the ballot, but just 29 of them featured a Republican pitted against a Democrat; of those contests, just six resulted in competitive races, meaning a victory margin of less than 10 percentage points.
    In races for the 40-member Senate, the competition was only slightly less tepid. Six of the races were relatively tight, while 20 candidates faced no major-party opponent whatsoever. In the case of both the Senate and the House, the lack of competition fit a pattern well established in 2007 and 2011 (also non-gubernatorial or presidential election years), when 85 percent to 95 percent of legislative races were blowouts — unless they were completely uncontested.
    No wonder voter participation, which has plummeted for years when state legislative races top the ballot, fell to an all-time low on Tuesday. According to preliminary figures from the Department of Elections in Richmond, just 26.5 percent of Virginia’s nearly 5.2 million registered voters went to the polls, the lowest level since the state started keeping track in the 1970s. Back then, and until computer-assisted gerrymandering was fine-tuned in the mid-1990s, turnout generally exceeded 50 percent in legislative-only election years.
    Incumbents of both parties are guilty of having deployed technological wizardry to manipulate electoral maps for their own political benefit and job security. In a state as evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans as any in the nation, there are vanishingly few state legislative districts drawn in such a way as to enable genuine electoral competition.
    When nearly every candidate wins by acclamation or blowout, democracy becomes a sham. When incumbents never face real competition from the opposing party, they move to the ideological extremes to protect themselves from primary challenges, thus minimizing the chance of compromise in the process of actual law making.
    Virginia, where Republicans have had the edge in Richmond, is not the only offender. Maryland, where Democrats are dominant in Annapolis, is just as guilty of running an incumbent-protection racket by means of cartographic shenanigans.
    In both states, Republican and Democratic governors have embraced the need for redistricting reform, meaning the creation of independent commissions that would re-draw legislative lines without regard to incumbent protection. Entrenched lawmakers in both states have arrogantly dismissed those proposals, but the governors should push ahead. By reforming in tandem, they could defuse arguments that only one party would benefit, while restoring a system in which voters can choose their representatives, rather than the reverse.


    Why did the author of the passage given above consider the elections in Virginia a “cakewalk”?

    Options :-

    1. Incumbent lawmakers of Commonwealth ran unopposed in districts.
    2. In balloting races for the state Senate and House of Delegates most were contests in name only, with an average victory margin of merely 20%.
    3. There was a lack of competition in both the House and the Senate.
    4. Only A and B.
    5. All of the above.
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