Reston Released Voter Information on 25K Households

by Andrea Swalec October 7, 2014 at 11:00 am 39 Comments

"I voted" sticker. (Photo via Flickr/vox efx)The partial voting records of Reston Association members were released by the group last week in response to a public records request by a member.

The RA says it released information on whether or not each of its 25,700 member households voted in the 2014 Board of Directors election. It also released members’ addresses, but omitted the substance of members’ votes and any other personal information.

The voter records were provided to RA member Irwin Flashman, a six-year resident, on Sept. 29. The RA says it was obligated to release the information under its bylaws and Virginia law.

Flashman said Monday that he wanted the records so he could analyze and try to boost the number of locals who cast their ballots.

“I want to increase voter turnout,” he said. “Something has to be done, and I think before you start doing anything, you need to know what happened.”

Fewer than 15 percent of Reston households cast votes in the March election in which three directors were chosen.

RA President Ken Knueven said the Association’s bylaws and Virginia law on property owners’ associations required the disclosure of the information.

“Under our bylaws and Virginia law, anything on record has to be provided,” Knueven said, adding that he wants Reston residents to know what was released and be comfortable with it.

“I believe voter records are confidential and should remain such,” he said. “We released only information we felt was not confidential.”

Flashman, who received a paper copy of the data, additionally requested an electronic version. The RA is reviewing that request and will discuss it at its full Board meeting Nov. 20.

Reston residents should want to know more about who votes, Flashman said.

“In a democracy, things are done out in the open,” he said. “The fact of voting should be an honor, not something you hide.”

Karen Goff contributed reporting.

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