Del. Ken Plum: Get Out and Vote

by Del. Ken Plum June 1, 2017 at 10:15 am 10 Comments

This is a commentary from Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

My credentials as a progressive Democrat (capital D) are well established; sometimes missed in the political back and forth of an election year might be my earnest effort to be a democratic (small d) advocate.

The outcomes of elections can be no more reflective of the public mood and aspirations than substantial participation by voters in the electoral process. That observation has been made over and over, yet elections occur with only a small fraction of eligible voters taking part.

Voting does take some time and effort. To vote one must register, but registration is active as long as you have not moved. Even though elections take place on a weekday when many people work, it should be possible to find some time between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. in order to vote. If not, absentee voting is an alternative. There has been much legislation over the years designed to suppress the vote, but I and others have spent a lifetime working to get it defeated in the courts or in the Legislature.

Although candidates spend huge amounts of money and time selling themselves to voters, there are many voters who consider themselves too ill-informed to vote. Bringing a realistic vision of a candidate to a voter is not an easy task. Candidates need to keep trying, and voters need to step up the effort to find out information on candidates for themselves. The recent growth of interest groups registering voters and informing people on the issues is a very hopeful sign. I believe it will help change the outcome of some elections, and for sure it is likely to increase participation.

Virginia has an election every year. While most states skip the odd-numbered years for elections, Virginia — along with New Jersey — will elect a governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and all members of the House of Delegates this year. That election will be on Nov. 7. But even before we get to those campaigns, there are many more primary elections in both parties this year than I can ever remember.

June 13 is a most important date when primary elections will take place. Voters do not register by political party in Virginia. To vote in the Democratic or Republican primary on June 13, you need to declare your political party at that time. You cannot vote in more than one primary.

Of course, I am voting in the Democratic primary and will be voting for current Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam for the Democratic nomination for governor and Justin Fairfax as the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor. Attorney General Mark Herring will be the Democratic nominee for re-election, as he is not being challenged in the primary.

If you are voting in the Republican primary on June 13, you have a choice of three candidates for the nomination for governor, and three for lieutenant governor.

I am not being challenged in the primary but several delegate districts have primaries in Northern Virginia. To look at a sample ballot for each party, go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/upcoming.htm.

However you choose to vote, do get out and vote and encourage your neighbors to do the same.

  • ichrysso

    Who are the Republican and third party nominees?

  • Jenny Gibbers

    Ken, please help us making voting easier here in the RA. Thanks for “time and effort”.

  • The Constitutionalist

    It hasn’t felt like a (small d) the last few years of you bending me over.

  • 40yearsinreston

    Thanks for the reminder Ken
    I wont forget to vote for the candidate who opposes you

    I hope the Independent made it on the ballot

  • Captain Obvious

    Good reminder, Ken.
    One Progreesive to another, I agree with most of what you said.
    But, I much prefer Tom Perriello, a former VA Congressman and Director of the Action Fund of the Center for American Progress to be Governor. Tom is a true progressive who has played in the big leagues and is endorsed by the top progressives in the U.S.–Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama. And, Tom, unlike Ralph, will stand up to Dominion Power and, unlike Ralph, never voted for George W. Bush, not once & certainly not twice!
    Tom is the real Progressive not Ralph.

  • Walter Hadlock

    Delegate Plum talks a good game–especially for one who continues to run unopposed. True democracy would be an election with no seat left unopposed.

  • F W

    I don’t trust those yanks. Brits ok, just so you know the flag never goes down on the union jack.


  • GettingPlummyWitIT

    Big L, thats for sure


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