It is Reston Association Board of Directors election season — do you know who your candidates are and where they stand on Reston’s issues?
While several open seats are uncontested, there are five candidates — incumbent Andy Sigle, Jeff Thomas, Colin Mills, Mason Miller and Michael Mackert — running for a three-year At-large spot, upping the campaign stakes. For the first time in recent memory, candidates have purchased ad space — and one candidate even hired a robocall company to call on his behalf.
Board members are volunteers who generally have fulltime jobs. They represent the members of Reston Association and work together to set policy, craft a budget and serve as a neighborhood liaison, among other things. They must be willing to sit through hundreds of hours of meetings, pay attention to small details of the community and sometimes receive derisive feedback from members.
Past RA election results show that turnout to elect those people is slim. Whether these public awareness methods will work remains to be seen.
Last year’s board elections were all uncontested seats, so that is not a worthy barometer of turnout.
In 2012, five candidates ran for two open At-large terms. Of about 25,000 eligible households, there were 3,798 ballots returned.
When Sigle was elected in 2011, there were five candidates in the race for the At-large seat. He won with 2,527 votes on 3,709 ballots returned, a 14 percent turnout.
Turnout for the neighborhood board seats such as Lake Anne/Tall Oaks or North Point is generally smaller since only the people in that territory are permitted to vote. For instance, the last time there was a contested neighborhood seat was 2011, where Cheryl Beamer (Hunters Woods/Dogwood) was elected with 845 votes.
Reston Now has been running candidate profiles last week and this week, and there will be a candidates forum Saturday at 10 a.m. at Reston Association Headquarters. Voters were also mailed an RA Voters Guide last week.
Voting is by mail-in ballot or online through the end of March. Winners will be announced on April 8.
Will you vote in the RA election? Do you learn about the candidates beforehand?