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by Eve Thompson November 1, 2016 at 1:30 pm 0

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This is a sponsored post by Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate.

Where to Vote in Reston

Nov. 8 is Election Day, and I hope every eligible voter in Reston has registered and is ready to cast a vote in this very important election.

It’s too late to register in Virginia (I wish we had same day voter-registration, but we don’t). However, I have found over the years that many of my clients who are new to the area aren’t sure where they’re supposed to vote.

So, to honor this day, here is information on how to find your polling place:

Super Tuesday voters check in at South Lakes HS polling placeYour voter information card lists the name and address of your voting location (polling place).

However, if you still aren’t sure where to go, the Virginia Department of Elections website has an online form to help you find your polling place called Where do I vote?. This online form provides your precinct code based on the address you submit. You can then check out this online map of the district polling places to find your designated spot.

If you can’t locate your polling place, or if you have any questions about where you should vote on election day, please call 703-222-0776.

What You Need to Have With You

Lost your voter ID card? Well, you don’t actually have to have it to vote. According to the Virginia Board of Elections, here is what you do need to have (bring one):

  • Valid Virginia Driver’s License or Identification Card
  • Valid Virginia DMV-issued Veteran’s ID card
  • Valid United States Passport
  • Other government-issued photo identification cards (must be issued by U.S. Government, the Commonwealth of Virginia, or a political subdivision of the Commonwealth)
  • Tribal enrollment or other tribal ID issued by one of 11 tribes recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Valid college or university student photo identification card (must be from an institution of higher education located in Virginia)
  • Valid student ID issued by a public school or private school in Virginia, displaying a photo
  • Employee identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by an employer of the voter in the ordinary course of the employer’s business

The website also offers a more detailed list of acceptable forms of identification.

It’s time to stop reading and start voting. Maybe I’ll see you at the polls!

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by Karen Goff October 24, 2016 at 1:00 pm 21 Comments

Election Day 2014 at South Lakes High SchoolThis is an op-ed by Reston resident Therese Martin. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

There have been so many misleading or incorrect comments about the proposed meals tax for Fairfax County during recent weeks that it is hard to know where to begin in pointing out how important its approval is for the citizens of our county.

Foremost, the Board of Supervisors is not proposing a rehash of last spring’s budget deliberations; it is proposing that they be given an important tool to use in making budget decisions in future years.

Each year, our elected representatives must balance the needs of the county’s residents against the resources available to them. Many Fairfax residents apparently don’t realize that counties in Virginia don’t have many tools to use [including use of an income tax as proposed in a recent letter in the local press]. Other than one-time grants and permits or fees that it caps, Virginia pretty much limits counties’ ability to fund services to the levy of property taxes.  In some years, the state actually takes back a part of the funds it provides to localities in order to balance its budget.

[We just recently heard that Virginia’s well-publicized plan to increase teacher salaries is on the chopping block because of its anticipated budget shortfall. Thus any increase in Fairfax teacher salaries to bring them up to the level of surrounding jurisdictions will depend on the local property tax.]

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by Karen Goff October 20, 2016 at 12:40 pm 4 Comments

VoteVirginia residents who were shut out of voter registration on the deadline, Oct. 17, will have an extra few days to ensure they can participate in the Nov. 8 election.

Many people said they were shut out of registration on Oct. 17 when the online registration crashed.

That resulted in the New Virginia Majority Educational Fund filing suit against the Virginia Department of Elections on Tuesday.

A judge in the Virginia Eastern District Court in Alexandria issued an injunction Thursday.

The guidance from the Department of Elections is to accept all voter registration applications that are:

  • Received in-person during normal business hours (until 7 p.m. Thursday and between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday).
  • Received online by 11:59 p.m. on Friday Oct. 21.
  • Received through the mail with a valid postmark on or before Friday, Oct. 21.

To register in person in Reston, visit the North County Government Center, 1801 Cameron Glen Dr. When you do so, keep your receipt for proof of registration in case of a recount or voter irregularities.

The suit had been seeking to keep registration open through the weekend.

“I am pleased that the court has agreed with the request to extend Virginia’s voter registration period after unprecedented web traffic prevented many people from completing their registrations online before the original deadline,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement. “The Commonwealth will fully comply with the court’s order and extend our registration process online, in-person and through the mail.”

“The Virginia Department of Elections and the Virginia Information Technology Agency have been working overtime since Monday night to expand the capacity of the system that allows Virginians to register to vote online, and I am confident that the steps we have taken will provide an improved experience to people who use it.”

The Virginia American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called the crash “an avoidable crisis” and pressed the commonwealth to do better.

“The on-line registration system went ‘live’ with General Assembly approval in July 2013,” said a statement from the ACLU. “Nonetheless, in the ensuing three years, the Department has not received the funding for needed hardware and software upgrades nor has it developed the technical expertise needed to ensure that the online registration system is able to handle the predictable increase in usage in a presidential election year. …”

“The Commonwealth must do better, and the legislature needs to take action to ensure that the Department of Elections has the state funds it needs to operate, especially when in the not too far distant future when federal dollars are no longer available.”

by Karen Goff October 20, 2016 at 12:30 pm 17 Comments

Miley Cyrus/Credit: NBC.comHillary Clinton and Tim Kaine are bringing some star power to Fairfax County this weekend.

Singer, songwriter, and The Voice judge Miley Cyrus will campaign for the Democratic Presidential ticket Saturday.

The Clinton campaign announced Thursday Cyrus will speak at a rally at George Mason University in Fairfax.

She will also knock on doors to “speak to students about the high stakes in this election for millennial voters, laying out Clinton’s vision for an America that is stronger together,” says a statement from Hillary for Virginia.

“Cyrus will urge voters to visit iwillvote.com to ensure that they have all the information they need to vote for Clinton on Election Day,” the Clinton campaign said.

Check back for exact time and other info about the GMU event.

Photo: Miley Cyrus/Credit: NBC.com

by Karen Goff October 19, 2016 at 4:20 pm 25 Comments


Hillary Clinton/HillaryClinton.com
Donald TrumpThe 2016 Presidential election is less than three weeks away — who is getting your vote?

Are you voting along party lines? Have you switched over? Do you want to see Hillary Clinton (D) or Donald Trump (R) in the White House? Are you picking an independent candidate? Or maybe you are still undecided.

By the way, absentee voting continues in Fairfax County until Nov. 5.

Whether you are heading to the polls on Nov. 8, mailed your ballot in or will vote absentee in person, please vote. Meanwhile, take our poll (Note: this is not a scientific poll).

by Karen Goff October 14, 2016 at 4:15 pm 59 Comments

Burger at The Counter/Courtesy of The CounterThe Meals Tax referendum is coming Nov. 8. Do you know how you will vote?

Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins is sponsoring a forum in Reston Oct. 24, where panelists will discuss the upcoming Fairfax County Meals Tax referendum. The forum is at South Lakes High School, 7 p.m.

The meals tax question will be posed to voters on the Nov. 8 ballot. If passed, the 4 percent tax on restaurant meals and other prepared food will add close to $100 million annually Fairfax County’s tax base. Seventy percent of that will go to Fairfax County Public Schools. The school system has been facing an annual shortfall, which has resulted in a rise in property taxes.

Thirty percent of the meals tax money will go to other county services.

Surrounding jurisdictions such as Alexandria, Arlington, the District, and the towns of Herndon, Vienna already have meal taxes. The Virginia jurisdiations that already have a tax will not be taxed twice; the new tax would affect areas of the county, such as Reston, Great Falls and unincorporated Herndon, that do not currently have a tax.

Fairfax County last held a referendum on a meals tax in 1992. It failed.

Proponents say it is a necessary way to diversify revenue without continuing to raise property taxes. Opponents say it will hit lower income people the hardest and it is unfair to the restaurant industry, among other issues.

Read more in these previous Reston Now posts:

Food Fight: New Groups Taking Sides in Battle Over Fairfax Meals Tax

Op-Ed: PTA Urges Passing Meals Tax

Op-Ed: Vote No on the Meals Tax

And see other info:

Fairfax County Meals Tax Referendum page

Stop The Food Tax page

Photo courtesy of The Counter

by Karen Goff October 14, 2016 at 2:30 pm 0

"I voted" sticker. (Photo via Flickr/vox efx)Absentee balloting ramps up in Reston on Monday, Oct. 17 when in-person, weekday voting begins at the North County Governmental Center, 1801 Cameron Glen Dr.

There are 19 reasons to vote absentee. Among them:

  • Student attending college or university outside of locality of residence in Virginia
  • Spouse of student attending college or university outside locality of residence in Virginia
  • Business outside County/City of residence on Election Day
  • Personal business or vacation outside County/City of residence on Election Day
  • I am working and commuting to/from home for 11 or more hours between 6:00 AM and 7:00 PM on Election Day
  • I am a first responder (member of law enforcement, firefighter, emergency technician, search and rescue)
  • My disability or illness
  • I am primarily and personally responsible for the care of a disabled/ill family member confined at home
  • My pregnancy
  • Confined, awaiting trial
  • Confined, convicted of a misdemeanor
  • An electoral board member, registrar, officer of election, or custodian of voting equipment
  • I have a religious obligation
  • Active Duty Merchant Marine or Armed Forces
  • Spouse or dependent living with a member of Active Duty Merchant Marine or Armed Forces
  • Temporarily residing outside of US
  • Temporarily residing outside of US for employment or spouse or dependent residing with employee
  • Authorized representative of candidate or party serving inside the polling place

The North County Government Center polls will be open Monday – Friday, 2-8 p.m through Nov. 4; and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 5.

If you want to vote by mail, not that the U.S. Postal Service has changed its delivery standards and First Class mail delivery is now two to five days. Standard delivery is now two to nine days.

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by Karen Goff October 12, 2016 at 11:30 am 3 Comments

Corrected VA 11 sample ballot/Fairfax County Office of Elections

The Fairfax County Office of Elections says new sample ballots are being mailed to 11th District voters.

Last week, voters in five Reston precincts that are part of the VA 11th received sample ballots that had 8th District information in the race for U.S House of Representative.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D), who is running unopposed, represents the 11th.

“In an effort to prepare Fairfax County voters for a lengthy ballot this November, the Office Elections prepared a sample ballot mailing for every registered voter in the county,” Fairfax County General Registrar Cameron Sasnett said in an email.

“During the printing of a batch of the sample ballots, the print vendor incorrectly included the 8th Congressional Sample Ballot for a number of voters in the 11th Congressional District. The print vendor has already printed corrected mailers and is expected to have them in the mail to voters by the end of the week.”

The Office of Elections says voters who received the yellow sample ballot mailer should refer to the front of their mailing for their correct Congressional District. If they have a question about your sample ballot, call the Office of Elections at 703-222-0776 (TTY 711) or go to the Office of Elections website.

by Karen Goff October 11, 2016 at 2:00 pm 34 Comments

Incorrect Fairfax Ballot

If you are a registered voter in south Reston, there is a good chance a sample ballot sent to you by the Fairfax County Office of Elections is incorrect.

Voters on Friday received official election mail from the county in advance of the Nov. 8 general election. The information for president, the meals tax, and on Virginia constitutional amendments and bonds is correct.

The ballot for the U.S. House of Representatives is wrong.

Voters in five precincts in the South Lakes-Hughes-Hunters Woods area received sample ballots with information for Virginia’s 8th District, where Rep. Don Beyer (D) is seeking re-election against Charles Hernick (R) and Julio Gracia (I).

Those precincts are in Virginia’s 11th District, where Rep. Gerry Connolly (D), is running unopposed for re-election to the House.

Reston was a member of the 8th District for 20 years, returning to the 11th in Virginia’s 2011 redistricting.

Anyway, consult a correct sample ballot on Fairfax County’s website.

by Karen Goff September 30, 2016 at 4:20 pm 13 Comments

Election Day/file photo

Absentee voting starts tomorrow in Reston.

More than half a million Fairfax County residents are expected to vote in the Nov. 8 election. During the last two presidential elections, there was an 80-percent turnout in Fairfax, and officials are expecting a similar turnout this year.

Officials said more than 1,800 people have voted in person at the Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax since absentee balloting began there Sept. 23. The county has also received 22,887 mailed absentee ballots.

Absentee voting will be available at the North County Governmental Center, 1801 Cameron Glen Dr. The next three Saturdays before moving to a weekday schedule.

Saturday Schedule (Nov. 5 is the last day to absentee vote in-person): October 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and November 5, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Weekday Schedule Oct. 17 to Nov. 4: Monday – Friday, 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

You can beat the crowds if you have one of the 19 reasons for an absentee ballot:

  • Student attending college or university outside of locality of residence in Virginia
  • Spouse of student attending college or university outside locality of residence in Virginia
  • Business outside County/City of residence on Election Day
  • Personal business or vacation outside County/City of residence on Election Day
  • I am working and commuting to/from home for 11 or more hours between 6:00 AM and 7:00 PM on Election Day
  • I am a first responder (member of law enforcement, firefighter, emergency technician, search and rescue)
  • My disability or illness
    I am primarily and personally responsible for the care of a disabled/ill
  • family member confined at home
  • My pregnancy
  • Confined, awaiting trial
  • Confined, convicted of a misdemeanor
  • An electoral board member, registrar, officer of election, or custodian of voting equipment
  • I have a religious obligation
  • Active Duty Merchant Marine or Armed Forces
  • Spouse or dependent living with a member of Active Duty Merchant
  • Marine or Armed Forces
  • Temporarily residing outside of US
  • Temporarily residing outside of US for employment or spouse or dependent residing with employee
  • Authorized representative of candidate or party serving inside the polling place

See more information on the Fairfax County Elections website.

by Karen Goff September 27, 2016 at 4:20 pm 33 Comments

Ted's Bulletin at Reston Town CenterThe League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area is co-sponsoring a forum this week on the proposed Fairfax County meals tax.

The question of a 4-percent tax on meals and other prepared foods will be presented to voters in the general election Nov. 8. The tax would add an additional $100 million annually to county coffers. Seventy percent of it would go to Fairfax County Public Schools.

Surrounding jurisdictions such as Alexandria, Arlington, the District, and the towns of Herndon, Vienna already have meal taxes.

Fairfax County last held a referendum on a meals tax in 1992. It failed.

Proponents say it is a necessary way to diversify revenue without continuing to raise property taxes. Opponents say it will hit lower income people the hardest and it is unfair to the restaurant industry, among other issues.

Here is what you need to know:

The forum is Thursday, Sept. 29, 7 to 9 p.m. at Luther Jackson Middle School Auditorium, 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church.

The moderator will be Mary Kimm, editor of the Connection newspapers.

The panelists in opposition to the meals tax will be Springfield Supervisor Pat Herrity (R) and Jon Norton from Great American Restaurants. The panelists in support of the meals tax will be FCPS’ Hunter Mill School Board rep Pat Hynes and Phil Niedzielski-Eichner, management consultant.

The panel will take questions from the audience. Questions may also be submitted in advance by writing to [email protected] or by taking a survey.

by Karen Goff September 23, 2016 at 10:00 am 4 Comments

Election season officially begins when absentee voting opens Friday in Fairfax County.

There are 19 valid reasons to vote absentee in Virginia, including working and commuting to and from home for 11 or more hours between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Election Day. Check the Virginia Department of Elections list to see if you are eligible.

Absentee voting will be available at the Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax) through Nov. 5.

Hours:

Sept. 23 to Oct. 14

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Thursday: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closed Monday, Oct. 10 (Columbus Day).

Oct. 17 to Nov. 4

  • Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Saturdays

  • Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and Nov.5, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Satellite locations, including the North County Governmental Center, 1801 Cameron Glen Dr. in Reston, open Oct. 1. Satellite location hours:

Saturdays 

  • Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and Nov. 5, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
  • Oct. 17 to Nov. 4. Monday – Friday, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Mail-in

Visit the Virginia Department of Elections citizen portal to get a mail-in absentee ballot. Your ballot must be received by Nov. 1. You will need your Social Security Number and information on your Virginia Driver’s License to complete the application. Information is also provided on how to apply if you do not have a driver’s license.

See the above video for information on how to mail in your ballot so it will surely count.

by Karen Goff September 22, 2016 at 1:00 pm 2 Comments

"I voted" sticker. (Photo via Flickr/vox efx)Correction: This story originally misidentified America’s Future Inc. as the America’s Future Foundation, which is a different organization.

Fairfax County and Virginia Department of Election officials say registered voters have received fraudulent letters in recent days suggesting their voter registration status was in question.

Edgardo Cortés, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections says letters have reportedly come from two organizations — America’s Future, Inc. and the Voter Participation Center.

“Letters sent by these organizations have reportedly been addressed to individuals who were already properly registered, are not qualified to register at the mailing address used, or are deceased,” Cortes said in a statement. “Although these letters include our street address and contact information, these letters did not come from the Department and are not official election mail.  … Voters can disregard any information received from outside entities that contradict our official records.”

Virginia voters can always confirm their current voter registration status and submit necessary updates on the Department of Elections’ secure citizen portal.

Official election mail logoOfficial election mail will also come with a distinct logo (left), state officials said.

Additionally, Fairfax County election officials say everything local voters need to know about the upcoming General Election on Nov. 8 can be found on Fairfax County’s Elections website.

In-person absentee voting begins in Fairfax County on Friday, Sept. 23 at the Fairfax County Government Center.

by Karen Goff August 5, 2016 at 2:45 pm 35 Comments

Lake Anne PlazaThe Clinton-Kaine campaign is opening a local office for the final months of the presidential race in a very high profile Reston spot.

The campaign will open an office at 1635 Washington Plaza, a former hair salon storefront at Lake Anne Plaza.

The office is expected to open soon, with a grand opening party later this month, a campaign spokesman said.

In 2012, Barack Obama’s re-election campaign had an office in Reston in an office building at 1760 Reston Parkway.

Local offices are where campaigns organize volunteers, hold phone banks and do other community-level campaign work.

Voters in Reston traditionally vote heavily Democratic in presidential elections. In 2008, Barack Obama won Reston precincts 66 percent to 33 percent. In 2012, Obama had 65 percent of the votes to Mitt Romney’s 34 percent.

by Karen Goff July 11, 2016 at 2:15 pm 9 Comments

Hillary Clinton/HillaryClinton.com Presumptive Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be in Fairfax County on Thursday, where she will campaign with Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.

The appearance is from 1:15 to 4:30 p.m. at Ernst Gymnasium at Northern Virginia Community College,  8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale.

Want to attend? Go to Clinton’s website and RSVP to get more details.

The Clinton campaign says the two “will discuss their shared commitment to building an America that is stronger together, while emphasizing that Donald Trump’s divisive agenda would be dangerous for America.”

Kaine, 58, is the junior senator from Virginia (elected in 2012) and was formerly Virginia’s governor. He has been mentioned by several national news sources as a possible vice presidential pick for Clinton.

Clinton should be making her pick for VP anytime between the end of the Republican National Convention July 21 and the start of the Democratic National Convention July 25.

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