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Op-Ed: Why Secrecy of Voter Identity in RA Elections is Inappropriate

by RestonNow.com — December 15, 2015 at 12:30 pm 65 Comments

Reston SignThis is an op-ed by Reston resident Irwin Flashman. It does not represent the opinion of Reston Now.

The RA Board is set to vote in its Dec. 17 meeting on two amendments to Board Resolutions which would prohibit the release of the names of persons who vote in Board elections or referenda. The Board has characterized this effort as one to, “protect the confidentiality of members who vote in association elections.”  The Board’s press release on the matter really urges members to say, “Yes, protect my confidentiality!”

This so-called issue of “expectation of privacy” is a huge red herring. The existing Resolutions already prohibit the release of the content of the ballot, that is, how someone voted.

The real issue is one of access to the actual voting members of the RA. There are more than 21,000 member households in the RA. In the short campaign period for Board elections, it is impossible for a candidate to knock on the doors of the more than 5,000 households in a district, or even more for a candidate at-large.

Political parties do not attempt to reach all voters in their campaigns. They first go after assuring that their own members likely to vote will, in fact, go to the polls. Then, they urge their own occasional voters to vote. Afterwards, they target the undecideds and others whose vote may be swayed toward their candidates. Yes, there are methods for reaching the entire electorate, but they are not nearly as effective as pressing the flesh and talking with voters.

You can spend significant sums of money on robo calls, or have a mass mailing to 21,000 households at a cost of well over $10,000 per mailing, when you count the cost of stamps, paper, envelopes, design, printing and manpower to put it all together.

How do you economically reach the actual likely voters, in terms of time, effort, manpower, and money?  You start by using the list of past actual voters. After you cover these voters, you can begin to reach out to others.  Otherwise, you are wasting at least 85 percent of your time money and effort, since less than 15 percent of the members actually vote.

If RA wants to attract the best and the brightest candidates who are committed to the best interests of the members, you do not make it nearly impossible for them to win against incumbents. If new candidates want to win an election, they spend their time, energy, money and manpower where it will be the most productive. The purpose of obtaining the list of actual voters is not to lose an election or somehow cause a lowered voting percentage. It is to reach the actual likely voters with a message that will resonate so that they will actually vote for the candidate.

The incumbents are already known to the actual voters, that is, those who take the time and interest to vote. Most incumbents have been in their positions for nearly three years; have had a full opportunity to express themselves during that period to the voters on a number of issues; and, if they have been doing their jobs, have been able to maintain contact with their electorate through a variety of ways afforded to Board members.

The challengers do not have these advantages. Absent the list of actual voters, they must rely on volunteers knocking on thousands member doors, particularly if they lack significant sums of money to expend on robo calls and mass mailings, etc. Within the time and other constraints of Board elections, it is not possible for most challengers to reach most of their electorate.

When compared with the full list of the members, the list of actual voters also lets people know who didn’t vote. If a challenger, or incumbent for that matter, wishes to reach out to those members who have not voted in the past, they will be able to do so and thus increase the number of participants in the democratic process. Given the deplorable percentage of voters who actually vote in Board elections, the RA Elections Committee should focus on increasing the number of actual voters, rather than on closing off an avenue which could lead to a higher level of participation.

The Board’s proposal takes us in a direction 180 degrees away from the RA tradition and recent history. I am informed by a former Board member that in the past, the Board commonly released the list of actual voters upon request, without hesitation. Further, last year the Board released the list of voting household addresses to me. This year, the Board has refused to provide the list to me, alleging that it does not have such records.  The list is held by the Board’s agent charged with running the election and the Board blithely disregards the “or kept on behalf of” phrase in the law.  (See below for an explanation of the applicable law.)  In my judgment, the Board was required by law to provide the list to me.  I have taken the Board’s refusal to the Virginia Ombudsman and am awaiting a decision.

In a public election, the list of actual voters is available to anyone who wishes to request it from the County. While RA is not a governmental entity, it is a quasi-public, non-profit membership entity with more than 21,000 member households. The right to vote in both spheres is based on residency.  In the public sphere, there is no secrecy or “expectation of privacy” connected to voter identity. Neither should there be any in the RA.

Making the list of actual voters public allows each member to determine whether his/her vote has been counted, or if they did not vote, to assure themselves that their vote was not improperly cast by someone else. The availability of the list of all actual voters is a major bulwark against voter fraud or the manipulation of the results.

While one does not wish to impugn the motives or methods of the Board, the Board’s approach is far from a neutral or objective attempt to ascertain what the real feelings of the RA membership may be on secrecy of the names of actual voters. To do that, the Board would have had to either hold a referendum or conduct a valid sampling of the members’ opinions on the matter.  The Board has chosen to do neither.  Rather, it has chosen to frame the issue in a way that is misleading at best.

Some Board members have argued the so-called “expectation of privacy” as a basis to cloak voter’s identity in secrecy.  That expectation does not exist under Virginia law.  Quite to the contrary, the Property Owners Association Act, section 55-510 B, states:

“Subject to the provisions of subsection C and so long as the request is for a proper purpose related to his membership in the association, all books and records kept by or on behalf of the association, shall be available for examination and copying by a member in good standing or his authorized agent including but not limited to:

1. The association’s membership list and addresses, which shall not be used for purposes of pecuniary gain or commercial solicitation;

…” (underlining supplied).

The referenced subsection C exceptions do not include the identity of voters in an election or referendum. Thus, the law specifically provides for access to this information, since it makes all books and records available to members, not otherwise excepted.

The ideal of the RA is to work on behalf of the members in an open, transparent fashion. This is an elemental foundation of a democracy. With these amendments, the Board essentially chips away at this important element of a free society. Knowledge is power.  By preventing the members from knowing who votes, the Board takes power away from the members and gives itself and the incumbents more power.

The recent tendency of some of the incumbent members of the Board to want to exercise greater control and limit the effectiveness of challengers can also be seen in Item L of the Board’s Agenda for the Dec. 17 meeting.  As far as I know, no one has commented on this proposal publicly.

The proposal seeks consideration of an amendment to the rules governing the election of officers of the Board. It would prohibit any Board member without one year of experience on the Board from being elected as an officer of the Board.  his provision would prevent duly elected members of the Board from taking leadership positions, despite their experience, knowledge and capabilities.  It is an attempt by incumbents to avoid the takeover of leadership of the Board by challengers. Shouldn’t the Board officers be elected based on the confidence and trust they inspire in a majority of the Board members?

I am not aware of the Deed setting out any such limitation on Board officers and one wonders whether such a provision would be proper. The point here is the tendency of some of the present Board members to want to restrict information and limit power to a smaller and smaller number of people. This can be seen in a number of other past actions by the Board and staff.

In conclusion, the proposed amendments to the Elections and Referenda Resolutions 4 and 6 regarding the secrecy of the names of voters do not serve the members’ interests, may indeed be illegal, and in essence are anti-democratic. Rather than being concerned about an imagined “expectation of privacy”, members should be concerned about the negative impacts on the democratic process by the denial of such information.

Something on your mind? Send an op-ed to [email protected] Reston Now reserves the right to edit for clarity, style and other reasons.

  • sheik yerbouti

    we should disband the RA Board and replace it with a Hereditary Monarchy system where the king authorizes maintenance tasks from the royal treasury when he deems it is needed for the good of Reston.

    • Ming the Merciless

      Ming promises an orderly and efficient rule that is, in the main, beneficial to his loyal subjects.

      • Guest

        I hope that means you will get Reston a Hooters?

    • Steve

      And build the king’s castle at Lake Anne, to solve the redevelopment problem. Better yet, build it ON Lake Anne to discourage invaders.

    • Richard

      I claim the throne!

  • James Colbertson

    Mr. Flashman, you frighten me. Supposedly, you are my neighbor, and I trust that is the way we can keep it.

    If you want to get into local politics, please take it to Herndon or Vienna or even the County and leave the rest of your neighbors alone.

    You stated it best above:
    “You can spend significant sums of money on robo calls, or have a mass mailing to 21,000 households at a cost of well over $10,000 per mailing, when you count the cost of stamps, paper, envelopes, design, printing and manpower to put it all together….How do you economically reach the actual likely voters, in terms of time, effort, manpower, and money? You start by using the list of past actual voters”

    My god, are you serious!? Reston provides you, or anyone, enough information on its residents. The election tally by Summary of Votes, by District, by Property Type is plenty of information for you and your PAC.

    This is Reston. So. Target Reston. Focus on Reston. Reach out to Reston. All of Reston. Nothing but Reston.

    And leave me alone otherwise. Whether or not I voted in this HOA is my business, not yours, or any of my neighbors.

    • james dean

      hello Mr. Colbertson…you don’t frighten me, but your willingness to give away our rights do…Mr. Flashman is trying to protect all of Reston by attempting to keep access to our election records open…When you voted in a RA election in the past, that info has been available to all of us in Reston…that info is available to all of your neighbors for Fairfax Co, the state of VA & USA elections…further, such info will remain open & accessible in Fairfax Co, state of VA & the USA…I have read your previous posts & those of others & find no compelling reason to make such a change…democracy is best served by open access to such info & records…thanks…Happy Holidays

      • James Colbertson

        James. You hide behind the veil of democracy advocating transparency. But, I believe your real interest is to have an effect on those people who have been willing to participate and give back to their community — they voted.

        The attached from the 2015 elections is plenty for you and Mr. Flashman to work with: http://www.reston.org/Portals/3/2015%20ELECTION/2015RestonBOD%20OfficialResults.pdf

        Reston is not a municipality. It is not a local, county or federal entity. It is a COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION. It’s a corporation, governed by Virginia codes.

        Please, it’s apparent you were upset about the Tetra purchase. But, as I said, I want no part of that conversation. I don’t want you to know whether I voted on that matter. I don’t want you to know anything about my business with my HOA.

        • james dean

          thanks…I won’t speak for Mr. Flashman but for myself…I am not hiding at all…I am being open & honest regarding my real interest …if the link you provided is enough info for you, great…but it isn’t enough for me…for RA to operate in a democratic manner, this type of info needs to remain open & available to all RA members…& once again, Fairfax Co & state of VA law regarding open record access will determine this issue…RA is a community association with a specific membership…that membership has rights to access the election records of the association…the RA board should quit wasting its time & our money on legal fees trying to hide info that RA members are entitled to….thanks

          • James Colbertson

            Mr. Flashman has and continues to waste the time and resources of Reston Association. RA should send him the bill.

            This is a Community Association. Not a town, not a city, not a county, not a federal district.

            So, really, what is your real interest in knowing whether I voted or not? Are you going to target me with something? Are you going to call me? Are you going to mail me something.? Are you going to find out where I live and knock on my door?

            Sorry, let me tell you now — not interested.

          • james dean

            RA is a community association…the members of that association currently have the right to access this voting record info…even if this change is voted & approved by the RA board it can’t retroactively deny Mr. Flashman the info he has requested….some RA staff & board members are wasting time & our money trying to hide info then should be open & accessible to all RA members….Mr. Colbertson…I am not specifically concerned with your info…but one of the best means of maintaining our freedoms & liberties is to demand open access to election records.

          • James Colbertson

            Per the Bylaws:

            Elections & Referenda Resolution 4;

            Member Voting Rights, Form of Ballots, Ballot Tabulation & Reporting Procedures for Board Elections
            XIII. Ballot Tabulation and Report

            e. Reporting and Records.

            i. The Elections Committee Chair or a designee shall announce the results of the election (s) at the Annual Meeting of the Members. In reporting the results, the Elections Committee Chair or designee shall announce the names of all of the candidates who have been elected to the Board of Directors.

            ii. Ballots are considered secret and the voting records shall be kept confidential by the Counting Agent.

            iii. All ballots received by the Counting Agent in connection with an Association election shall be retained by the Counting Agent for a period of five years from the date the results of the election is announced to the membership; after which they are destroyed.

          • MyNameIsNunya

            It doesn’t matter what the “real” interest in the records of which households voted: there is either a right to have that records info, or there is not a right to have that records info.
            The question is why is the board wasting all my money researching the matter. Just give the info, or better yet publish it on the RA website so anybody can access it, and stop wasting all my money.

          • james dean

            Thanks….agreed

        • Guest

          “(Reston) is a COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION” . . . and that is exactly the law Mr. Flashman quotes. Its books and records should be open to all members who are interested.

          • James Colbertson

            And they are. Read the governing documents given to you when you bought your house. Or go to the Reston Web Page.

        • John Higgins

          “I don’t want you to know whether I voted on that matter”. Too late, Mr.C. Last week you informed us, I think it was in a somewhat heated exchange with Morningside, that you voted in the Tetra referendum. Now, I don’t know or care how you voted, and I appreciate your being a responsible member who votes. I hope you will pardon my pointing out the contradiction.

          • James Colbertson

            Mr. Higgins, you’re right. It was MY choice to tell you. Not yours.

            If asked, I may give you the information you are requesting.

            But, I refuse you to know, without my permission.

  • RestonResident

    It’s my right to vote; nevertheless, it’s none of your business on if I voted or whom I voted for.

    • james dean

      thanks…no one is asking how you voted…it is the right of your neighbors to be able to find out if you voted or not…that is according to RA elections regs now & Fairfax Co, state of VA & USA elections regs & open records access laws….why should RA change that? & as Mr. Flashman stated in his op-ed & as many friends of mine who are legal experts suggest, the changes RA is considering would be illegal in the state of VA.

      • Ming the Merciless

        What RA regulation says you have the right to know whether or not I voted?

        • james dean

          RA precedent…RA has provided info in past…& Fairfax Co & state of Va laws/regs

          • Ming the Merciless

            Cite those county and state laws/regs.

  • Ming the Merciless

    Not sure I agree with your interpretation of 55-510. I think the “books and records” discussed in this section refer to the financial and administrative operations of the association. Saying that “books and records” refers to “lists of who voted” is a stretch.

    Is knowing that I voted so you can come and bother me really a “a proper purpose related to membership in the association”? I am not sure that it is. If the RA asked me whether or not they should give you my name and contact information because I voted, I would certainly say NO.

    • Guest

      Since it doesn’t say its “financial and administrative operations” either, it seems it applies to ALL “books and records.”

      • Ming the Merciless

        The first paragraph:

        “The association shall keep detailed records of receipts and expenditures affecting the operation and administration of the association. All financial books and records shall be kept in accordance with generally accepted accounting practices.”

        I would say that after that, “books and records” is a shorthand for these types of books and records, i.e., records of receipts and expenditures affecting the operation and administration of the association.

    • John Higgins

      It pains me to observe, for the first time, that the venerable Ming makes an error of fact. A casual reading of Sec 55-510 suggests that it applies to financial and administrative records. But subsection B corrects that impression when it says “all books and records”. Reading on, subsections C through F talk about a wide field of records that are not limited to financial and administrative matters.

      So, as a matter of fact, this section says and means “all” with eight specific exceptions and one general exception: “Disclosure of information in violation of law.”

      If disclosure of who has voted is prohibited by law, the RA does not need a board resolution telling it to not violate the law. If it is not illegal to make these records available, I don’t think the RA’s resolution trumps the law that says all records shall be available for inspection.

      Just trying to separate fact from opinion.

      • Ming the Merciless

        (shrug) You have opinions, not facts.

        My view is that B (like the rest of 55-510) refers to all financial and administrative records.

        C through F talk about nothing else but financial and administrative matters.

        I would also argue that “whether or not I voted” ought to be excluded under C1 and C9.

  • Ming the Merciless

    The Reston Deed:

    https://www.reston.org/Portals/3/Inside%20RA/Reston%20Association%20Governance/Governing%20Documents/RADeed.pdf

    Section III.3 (b) — page 8.

    (6) Members may examine the books and records of the Association according to the procedures set forth in the POAA, as may be amended. Books and records kept by or on behalf of the Association may be withheld from inspection and copying to the extent permitted by the POAA, as may be amended. In addition, individual referendum ballots and ballots for the election of Directors may be withheld from inspection and copying.

    They MAY be withheld. Therefore, the RA has no obligation to produce them, whether or not the RA has done so in the past.

    • james dean

      Thanks… No one is requesting access to the ballots… Nor is anyone requesting info on how anyone voted… But RA has provided the info on who voted previously… As does Fairfax Co & state of Va

      • Ming the Merciless

        The county and the state are irrelevant. The RA is an HOA not a government entity.

        • Guest

          …but it is governed by law (much as RA would like to think otherwise), specifically, the law Mr. Flashman cites in his op-ed.

          • Ming the Merciless

            That law does not require the RA to maintain lists of who voted, and therefore the fact that the county and state provide such lists to the public is irrelevant. Whether or not that law requires the RA to provide such lists, if and when they exist, to members is open to question.

            Frankly I’d be inclined to vote against anyone who showed up at my door to pester me.

    • Virginia Harlow

      I’d interpret that “individual to mean how a person voted. Not whether they did.

      • Ming the Merciless

        Meh. Then the RA should stop making lists of who voted, and only keep the individual ballots that they don’t have to disclose.

        Why does the RA even need a list of who voted? They send their spam to everyone, they don’t target individuals so far as I can tell. There is no positive obligation for them to keep such a list.

  • Sally Forth

    The people who do have the time and resources to buy expensive voter lists with addresses AND emails are developers… Do you want an RA board made up of them??? Well, if not, let the voting records remain public. No horrid harm has come to RA for 50 years. Why is the current board seeking this change now? BAD MOVE and counter-productive. I vote to keep the system of access and transparency in tact!

    • James Colbertson

      If you would follow the story, you’d see Reston is not proposing anything. It’s Mr. Flashman who is requesting Reston go against what has been written in the bylaws the last many decades.

      • Guest

        You are wrong on both the bylaws and history here.

        • James Colbertson

          Well…I think the community will agree I am interpreting the bylaws correctly.

          Apparently [from what I have read] Mr. Flashman took advantage of an accident of fate, which he grabbed for his own agenda. I pray, that accident does not allow him, or others, to continue to manipulate the system.

          • james dean

            Thanks Mr Colbertson….in Mr Flashmans Op-Ed he states….”The Board’s proposal takes us in a direction 180 degrees away from the RA tradition and recent history. I am informed by a former Board member that in the past, the Board commonly released the list of actual voters upon request, without hesitation. “… That info confirms what has been shared with me as well… Further Mr Flashman is not attempting to manipulate anything or anyone… He is stating his opinions & interests openly & honestly… Again, the confidentiality & privacy of all RA ballots & votes have been & will continue to be protected in the same manner that they are throughout Fairfax Co & the state of Va….RA is seeking to make a change …RA is seeking to close & prevent open access of our voting records….Open & transparent voting & records are important to maintaining & protecting Reston for all of us.

          • James Colbertson

            Mr. Dean, if true, it’s a real shame previous boards violated the trust of the members of Reston and perhaps put Reston in a legal liability situation. I can’t go back and change that. What I can say is this: boards must adhere to the governing documents and bylaws as written.

            If we wish to change the governing documents, then have a community wide referendum on this issue. But, I doubt the majority of us would care to foot that bill.

            According to the Reston CORPORATE governing documents and bylaws, my voting records are to be kept CONFIDENTIAL.

            In addition [with regard to Virginia CORPORATIONS,] State and Federal laws require my personal information, which includes my postal address, email, etc., be kept confidential.

            Again, whether I voted on Tetra or a candidate, is none of your business.

          • james dean

            Thanks….There are disagreements regarding the interpretation of RA governing docs…According to my understanding since no one has asked how you voted & since no one has been told how you voted….your vote has been & will continue to be kept confidential…thanks

          • James Colbertson

            You miss my point, or avoid it intentionally, to a point of frustration now.

            I do not want you, or Mr. Flashman, my neighbors, my friends, my mother, or anyone else for that matter to know WHETHER, [the word is the conjunction term –WHETHER] OR NOT I VOTED.

            It is nobody’s business, but mine. My dealings with this corporation are mine, not yours.

          • james dean

            Thanks…I understand…what you want is contrary to local/state laws….contrary to RA governing docs & RA precedents….Thanks

          • James Colbertson

            My god you are determined. Reston is not a municipal government. It is a Virginia corporation. Reston’s governing documents explicitly state – voting records are to be kept confidential. Thank goodness.

            The next thing you and Mr. Flashman will want to know is who has paid assessments and who has not. Of course your argument will be the address is all you’ll ever need. Yea!

      • james dean

        Sorry Mr Colbertson, you are wrong…RA has provided this info to Mr.Flashman previously… RA is proposing to change this & not to provide this info now & in the future

    • Ming the Merciless

      Gosh, I can’t recall getting any emails or letters or phone calls from developers. It’s almost like they don’t really care what I think, and they’re focusing their lobbying resources on the county Board of Supervisors or something.

  • Virginia Harlow

    Whether you vote or not is voluntary. I’ve no problem with that. Whether or not you get information to vote sensibly, and that means information from opposing viewpoints, depends on these records being available to challengers. Also, information on whether someone voted in your name contrary to your wishes is a pretty compelling argument . Keep access to this information open. IMO.

    • James Colbertson

      Irwin Flashman can get the entire list of RA members from RA anytime. If he, and you, Ms. Harlow, are so interested in changing RA’s ways, focus on the community as a whole. Reach out to ALL the members.

      Whether or not I voted, on any Reston matter, is none of your business.

      • Guest

        Focusing “on the community as a whole” is not focusing at all. It is its opposite. That’s why it’s important to reach the people who count on voting matters, including you.

      • james dean

        Thanks Ms Harlow & Mr Colbertson… Only developers & a privileged few can afford to mail & or robocall all approx 21,000 homes & families in Reston… Open access to RA records is the best way to maintain & protect Reston for all members of Reston

        • Ming the Merciless

          I have not received any letters or phone calls from developers and the privileged few. Whatever they are doing with their privilege, it does not involve using that list.

          On the other hand, I can easily cite an example of someone who is not a developer or one of the “few” who has nevertheless reached a lot of people in Reston through contributions to blogs and the local papers. He did not need access to the “who voted” list in order to make his views known (and therefore Flashman doesn’t either). Nor does he knock on doors or send targeted letters. Everyone who has the slightest interest in the future of Reston is aware of the thoughtful views of this man.

          He is a contributor to this thread — namely, Terry Maynard.

  • Rational Reston

    The worst thing about RA and it’s shenanigans. RA is the enemy.

  • John Higgins

    I think I’ve heard enough on both side of this issue to form an opinion. The one facet not mentioned yet (and I’d like to see someone address it) has to do with challenges by unsuccessful candidates for the board (and perhaps those dissatisfied by a referendum outcome.) A few years back there was a very close vote for a district director. As memory serves me, a handful of votes was the difference. The loser had the right to challenge the results and part of that challenge would be to question the eligibility of those who participated in the vote and assurance that only votes for that district were in the counting agent’s totals. The law says the agent’s report is presumed to be accurate. But that’s a rebuttable presumption. How can one rebut something they are not permitted to see? On what basis can one challenge a vote they don’t know was cast? Any suggestions?

    • James Colbertson

      Mr. Higgins, I hope you are not implying the losing candidate would be able to have access to the challenged votes. That would go against the Virginia code, the bylaws of Reston and just good common sense. Ballots have been considered private and confidential for the sake of having proper elections — without reprisal and/or repercussions for the voter — by design. .

      Per the bylaws of Reston, the counting agent has access to the ballots for tabulation purposes. The counting agent is the assigned proxy and “auditing” authority, per the State Code, working of course with the proper non-disclosure agreements.

      Under the circumstance described above, the counting agent would have the ability to look at the challenged ballots and report to the board, elections committee staff, and Reston staff. The counting agent would perform any recount, etc.

      I prefer an independent agent, acting as assigned proxy, over staff or board members performing any referenda vote tabulations.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Suck it, Flashman. I don’t want to be targeted for more political advertising simply because I’ve previously voted. Instead of “in your face” advertising, I prefer anonymity so that I can then freely collect information in my own way and in my own time without a constant barrage of candidate BS being thrown in my face.

    • James Colbertson

      DITTO Mr. Morningwood (although I might have been a bit more diplomatic). There are many existing ways members can reach out to the community.

      Like you, I never want to be singled out by my neighbor for an action I have taken with my HOA.

      It’s ridiculous to see this as an issue on which the board and staff need to waste their time and our dollars.

      A vote, whether it takes place in a Union, the PTA, my HOA, or my kid’s tree fort, is a commodity that should not be messed with. Even if it’s just a street address. Please Reston, respect my privacy.

      • Guest

        Suck it, Mssrs. Morningwood and Colbertson. It’s the state law!

        • James Colbertson

          Please Mr. Guest. Show us the law.

          Reston’s governing documents, in conformance with the Virginia Non-Stock Corporation Code, state ballots are SECRET, and voting records are CONFIDENTIAL.

          • james dean

            thanks…everyone…lets be civil & polite w/each other….your vote is secret & confidential since how you voted is not shared…the importance of transparency in any democratic process far outweighs any voters desire for anonymity…Fairfax Co & Va State laws outweigh RA governing docs & any RA board vote…further, this is civics class 101…we live in Reston VA…we aren’t & can’t be “sovereign citizens”…there are common sense limits on our privacy…your vote is confidential & secret since how you voted is not made public…the importance of transparency in any democratic process
            far outweighs any voters desire for anonymity…thanks

          • James Colbertson

            Mr. Dean…

            Those that disagree with you are telling you simply this: they do not want anyone to know whether or not they voted. That is a voting record as well, and will remain confidential.

            If you care to see that changed, then start the referendum process to change Reston’s governing documents.

          • james dean

            thanks…for what Mr. Flashman & I are requesting, no referendum is required & no change of Reston’s gov docs is required to do…Mr. Flashman isn’t the first to receive this info & he won’t be the last…Mr. Colbertson, you & others are the one wanting to see the process changed….Mr. Colbertson, you & others would be the ones that would need to seek such change(s)…but you won’t need to just change RA gov docs…you would have to secure changes to Fairfax Co & VA state law(s)

          • James Colbertson

            First, I’d love to see that law you make claim to. Second, why do you want to have access to my address and whether the individual(s) at that address voted?

            So, no offense. I do not want you, or Mr. Flashman, or any neighbor, to know anything about my business with Reston.

            No need for my neighbors to start building profiles on me and my friends in Reston.

          • james dean

            thanks…can’t speak for the gov, Mr. Flashman, your neighbors & or the boogie man…but for me, this is not about you & or any other individual….this is about democracy & transparency…it is about protecting Reston by ensuring that RA conducts its elections & business in an open & transparent manner…RA’s budget next yr will be more than $16 MILLION…that is OUR MONEY…we should want to make certain that it is spent appropriately…I certainly don’t want RA funds wasted like this on more unnecessary legal fees….thanks

  • james dean

    thanks…everyone…lets be civil & polite w/each other….RA & others are mistaken when they try to to frame this as a confidentiality & or privacy issue….the issue here is one of open access to records of a member community association…as such any & all members have certain rights to access the community association records…your vote
    is secret & confidential since how you voted is not shared…the
    importance of transparency in any democratic process far outweighs any
    voters desire for anonymity…Fairfax Co & Va State laws outweigh RA
    governing docs & any RA board vote…further, this is civics class
    101…we live in Reston VA…despite what some may think & or hope, we aren’t & can’t be “sovereign
    citizens”…there are common sense limits on our privacy…your vote is
    private, confidential & secret since how you voted is not made public…the
    importance of transparency in any democratic process far outweighs any voters desire for anonymity…thanks

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