Write-In Candidate May Change Race For Reston Association Seat

Reston AssociationSeveral members of the Reston Association Board of Directors are concerned that a write-in candidate may be leading the in the votes for the Apartment Owners seat.

Ellen Graves is the official candidate for the spot, but Kimberly Miller, a portfolio manager with developer The JBG Companies has received many votes, RA sources said.

The spot is open because current apartment owner rep Amanda Andere is not running for re-election. Graves is currently on the board representing Hunters Woods/Dogwood. She was appointed last summer to fill out the remaining months of the term after Cheryl Beamer resigned.

Graves would not comment and Miller did not return messages. Miller is not a Reston Association member, but RA bylaws allow a non-resident to be in that spot.

While there is nothing in the RA bylaws that prevents a write-in candidate from seeking election, it brings up a question of why Miller did not seek election the standard way — by filing with RA months ago and campaigning for the position. Reston officials said Miller did file, but her application came in late, sources said.

And while there is no rule against having an employee of a major developer on the board, it also brings up the question of potential conflicts of interest as JBG owns several developments in Reston and has filed plans for several more.

The Apartment Owners seat is a bit different than other RA board seats. In most RA board seats, candidates are elected to a three-year term by earning votes from the households in the neighborhood they represent. A winning candidate earns between several hundred to several thousand votes, depending on opponents that year.

For the apartment seats, though, candidates only need a majority of votes from a pool of 20 representatives of owners of Reston’s major apartment complexes. Among the voters are Fellowship Square Foundation, Cornerstones, Quantum Real Estate Management, Lerner Corporation, and The JBG Companies.

Meanwhile, RA Elections Chair Ed Robichaud says turnout has been pretty light in the 2014 board election. Ballots must be in by Monday at 5 p.m.

RA has fixed a glitch in which RA’s online voting was down for 48 hours last weekend. Robichaud told the board on Wednesday that they should look into a recovery procedure in case the same thing happens in the future.

“We have nothing place for an act of God or a weather emergency,” he said.

He also suggested incentives such as a pool pass discount for households that vote. Only a small portion of Reston’s 25,000 households take part in the annual election, he said.

“I take it as an embarrassment that we can only convince 3,000 people to vote,” he said.

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