Reston, VA

Fairfax County voters are headed to the polls today.

In the Hunter Mill and Drainsville districts, there are several seats up for election including the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Fairfax County School Board positions and Board of Supervisors seats.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and voters can swing by anytime throughout the day.

There are several options for anyone wishing to monitor turnout and results. Fairfax County’s Twitter account will be posting updates at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m.

There are around 20 various polling locations, which will be open throughout the area. Voters can find their designated polling location using the My Neighborhood Map or through the Virginia Department of Elections website.

Below is a map of all the voting locations throughout Reston and Herndon.

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Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Readers of this column no doubt have next Tuesday, November 5, marked as election day on their calendars. You are exceptional. If history holds true, fewer than half of registered voters will vote. Getting people to register is a year-round activity but getting registered voters to actually cast a vote is a crunch-time activity for the last couple of weeks before the election.

Tired of all the robo-calls? Slick postcards in the mailbox? Contentious debate on the news media? Endless social media posts? Much of that activity is directed to reminding people to vote and to gain a competitive advantage, but it oftentimes turns off folks who are cynical about the electoral process or who are confused by it all.

Historically there have been many efforts to suppress the vote by passing laws that prevent various classes of people from qualifying to register or that add to the complexities of voting that discourage people from going to the polls. Virginia’s history is filled with numerous examples of laws that reduced the franchise. Literacy tests that were unreasonable or unfairly administered, poll taxes that not only charged for voting but included a time schedule for collection that only insiders could meet, and unusually long residency requirements are but a few examples. For much of our history in Virginia, the majority party in control of state politics worked to keep people from voting!

Against that backdrop of individual cynicism and confusing election laws, what are we who understand the importance of elections to do to increase participation in voting? I believe we need to get past the old adage that it is not polite to talk about politics and religion. Leaving religion for another discussion, I believe more than ever that we need to have a more inclusive discussion that might inevitably lead to a debate about politics and government in our state and in our nation. Keep it civil is the first rule but be sure to end the discussion with a reminder to friends, family and neighbors to vote. Our government is no better than voters decide.

Between 6 am and 7 pm Tuesday, November 5, polls will be open for voting in Virginia. If you are not sure where to vote, go to fairfaxcounty.gov/elections. You can find where your polling place is but also what is on the ballot. All seats in the House of Delegates and the State Senate are up for election as are Constitution officers (for Fairfax that is the sheriff and the Commonwealth’s attorney). At the Fairfax County level, voters elect the chairman of the Board of Supervisors, the supervisor to represent their magisterial district, three at-large School Board members and a School Board member for their magisterial district, three members of the Soil and Water Conservation District Board, and a question on issuing school bonds.

There are few surprises in how I intend to vote. School children often ask me if I vote for myself, and I can assure you that I do. I will be voting for Senator Janet Howell; for Sheriff Stacey Kincaid; for Commonwealth’s attorney Steve Descano; for Board of Supervisor chairman Jeff McKay; Walter Alcorn for Hunter Mill supervisor; Melanie Meren for Hunter Mill School Board representative; for School Board at-large Karen Keys-Gamarra, Abrar Omeish, Rachna Sizemore Heizer; and for Soil and Water Conservation Board Gerald Peters, Chris Koerner, and Monica Billger; and yes on the school bond issue.

If you need to vote early, get absentee voting information at Elections. See you at the polls with your friends and neighbors on Tuesday. Now more than ever, it is important to vote and to take someone to the polls with you!

File photo

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Tuesday Morning Notes

What you should know before heading to the polls — View your sample ballot online, which includes a public safety bond referendum and two state constitutional amendments. Voters should bring their photo identification and plan ahead, as poll locations will be very busy during peak commuter hours. [Fairfax County Government]

Solidcore is coming to Reston — The DC-based fitness chain, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary, is opening 125 studios by 2022 and one of them will be located in Reston. [Washingtonian]

Reston Town Center Farmers Market canceled today — Due to inclement weather, the second-to-last farmers market in Reston Town Center has been canceled. Next week is the last day to take advantage of the market, which began this fall. [Reston Town Center]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Fairfax County voters will be asked to vote on a $182 million public safety bond question on Election Day (Nov. 6).

If approved, the county will sell general obligation bonds to fund renovations, expansions, and the replacement of fire, police, sheriff and court facilities.

The heftiest of the bond referendum is nearly $73 million to replace four fire and rescue departments, which are located in Mount Vernon ($16 million), Fairview ($16 million), Gunston ($13 million) and Seven Corners ($13 million). Each facility is at least 37 years old. An additional $15 million will be used to expand another volunteer fire station.

Roughly $59 million would be allocated to renovate and upgrade the Mason District Police Station ($23 million), renovations to the Criminal Justice Academy ($18 million), and upgrades to a police evidence storage building, which is used to store evidence for the court system.

The courts and adult detention center would also see an additional $50 million in funding. Security systems and major building systems in all three wings of the center need to be replaced, along with nearly $5 million for upgraded lighting, ADA-friendly facilities, and technology updates to the Jennings Judicial Center.

More information about each project is available online.

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Your guide to Halloween — As ghosts and ghouls prowl the neighborhood streets tonight, here are some safety tips you should keep in mind as you head out and dress up. [Fairfax County Government]

Voting 101 — Election Day is just days away and with more than 70,000 active registered voters in the county, there’s a lot to catch up on. [Fairfax County Government]

Preventing pedestrians crashes — So far, 10 pedestrians have been killed in crashes in Fairfax County and 100 pedestrians have been involved in crashes. Drivers and pedestrians should keep the following tips in mind in order to prevent accidents. [Fairfax County Government]

Photos: Annual Public Art Reston party –– This year’s annual fundraising event for the nonprofit organization took place on the 16th floor of the Helmut Jahn building at Reston Station. [Public Art Reston]

Photo by Ray Copson

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"I voted" sticker. (Photo via Flickr/vox efx)Fairfax County needs poll workers to help at Reston precincts on March 1 — the “Super Tuesday” primaries.

Any registered Virginia voter who isn’t an elected official or an employee of an elected official is eligible to work the polls. You must be available all day — from about 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. or later.

Elections officers will receive training prior to Election Day, and will do such jobs as
set up voting equipment; check photo IDs and check names on the electronic poll book;
provide assistance and instructions in using the voting machines; tabulate the results at the close of the polls.

Election officers are paid $175 for working a full Election Day. Election officers must work at least one general election before being considered for an assistant chief election officer ($200) or chief election officer ($250). You can also volunteer your time instead of being paid.

For more information, Email [email protected] with your name, political party affiliation, home address, date of birth, telephone number and email address, or call 703-324-4735 (TTY 711), or fill out this online interest form.

For complete details visit the Fairfax County Government website.

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FCPS School Board member Pat HynesThere were no surprises on Election Day as the Virginia State Senate and House members, and the Fairfax County Supervisor and School Board member representing Reston — all running unopposed — were re-elected.

Here are some tallies:

State Senate (32nd District)

Janet Howell (D)  28,872 votes (93.41 %)

Write ins  1,684 (6.59 %)

State Delegate (36th District)

Ken Plum (D) 10,339 (93.91%)

Write-ins 670 (6.09% )

Board of Supervisors, Hunter Mill District

Cathy Hudgins (D) 17,235 (94.33%)

Write-in 1,036 (5.67%)

In the only Reston-area contested race, Hunter Mill School Board member Pat Hynes was re-elected to a second term. Hynes (12,951 votes; 61.30%) defeated Mark Wilkinson (8,116, 38.41%).

Hynes, who also serves as the current school board chair, will serve another four-year term.

In the school board race for three At-Large seats, incumbents Ryan McElveen and Ilryong Moon were re-elected. However, newcomer Jeanette Hough was elected with the third-highest number of votes (80,006) in the nine-candidate field, moving ahead of incumbent Ted Velkoff for the third at-large seat.

Sharon Bulova/File photoSharon Bulova (D) will also return for another term as Board of Supervisors Chair. She received 59 percent of the votes, easily defeating Republican opponent Arthur G. Purves and Independent Glenda Gail Parker.

In other races:

Raymond F. Morrogh, running unopposed, was re-elected to the county Commonwealth’s Attorney office.

Stacey Kincaid defeated challenger Bryan “B.A.” Wolfe to return as Fairfax Count y Sheriff.

Scott John Cameron,  George W. Lamb IV and Gerald O. “Jerry” Peters earned spots for the Soil and Water Conservation Director Northern Virginia District.

John Frey narrowly defeated Bettina Lawson (48 percent to 46 percent) as for county clerk of courts.

Both the $315 million public schools bond and the $151 million facilities bond easily passed.

For more vote totals, breakdowns by precinct and nearby races, visit the Virginia Board of Elections’ website.

Photos: Top, Hunter Mill School Board rep Pat Hynes; Bottom, Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova/file photos

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"I voted" sticker. (Photo via Flickr/vox efx)Tuesday, Nov. 3 is election day. Do you know where your precinct is located?

Here is a primer for all things Election Day 2015.

If you are unsure of you polling place, put your address in this polling locator tool from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

You need an acceptable form of ID to vote. See a list of ID types from Fairfax County.

Get up to speed with this sample Hunter Mill District Ballot.

In the Hunter Mill District:

Supervisor — Incumbent Cathy Hudgins (D)  is running unopposed.

Virginia Senate — Incumbent Janet Howell (D) is running unopposed.

Virginia House of Representatives — Incumbent Ken Plum (D) is running unopposed.

Fairfax County School Board: Incumbent Pat Hynes is running for re-election against newcomer Mark Wilkinson.

There are also three At-Large School Board seats up for grabs. Here is who is on the ballot:

Additionally, Sheriff Stacey Kincaid is running for re-election against Bryan A. “B. A.” Wolfe; and Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon S. Bulova is being challenged by Arthur G. Purves and Glenda Gail Parker.

Voters will choose a new Soil and Water Conservation Director for the Northern Virginia District and a new Clerk of Courts.

Fairfax County voters will also be presented with bond issues — a $315 million school bond (which would aid in renovations for Herndon and South Lakes High Schools, as well and Langston Hughes Middle School), and a $151 facilities bond. Part of the facilities bond will go towards replacing the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Station at Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road, as well as a new animal shelter

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South Lakes High School When Fairfax County voters go to the polls on Nov. 3, there will be two bond issues: a $310 million school bond and a $151 million public facilities bond.

If passed, both will have significant money put towards projects in Reston.

Both South Lakes and Herndon High Schools are among the schools slated for improvement with the 2015 bond.

South Lakes will get $13,359,385 towards construction of the 40,000-square-foot addition that will add classroom space to the building, which has reached capacity.

The addition will enable South Lakes to get rid of many of its temporary classrooms. The school, which underwent a major overhaul and expansion less than 10 years ago, is designed for 2,100 students. It’s current enrollment is 2,446. The addition will give the school a capacity of 2,500.

However, if enrollment trends hold, the school could be at 2,900 enrollment, FCPS officials said in the most recent Capital Improvement Plan.

Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors last week approved the addition. The planning and other initial costs will be paid for with funds from a $225 million 2013 bond.

Herndon High would get $99 million from the bond for renovations.

Langston Hughes Middle School is set to get $3.7 million to initiate the planning stages for its renovation.

Nine elementary schools, none in the Reston area, would also benefit. See the full list on FCPS website.

Fairfax County’s Fire and Rescue Station 25, location on at Wiehle Avenue and Sunset Hills Road, is slated to be replaced if the public facilities bond passes.

If voters pass the bond, $51 million will be used to replace Station 25, as well as renovate or replace Merrifield, Penn Daw, Woodlawn, and Edsall stations.

Station 25 is one of the busiest stations in the county, Fairfax County says. It was built in 1972 and last renovated in 1986.

Fairfax County’s Capital Improvement Plan says $13,000,000 is needed for replacement as the building systems and infrastructure are well beyond the end of their life cycle. The replacement would include an expansion to a four-bay station.

The fire station lacks women’s accommodations to include bunk rooms, lockers and bathroom facilities to meet 50 percent of minimum shift staffing, Fairfax County officials said. It is also in need of a workout room, an expanded men’s locker room area and laundry facilities.

Other bond money will go to renovate the Franconia District Police station ($100 million); to build a new, joint animal shelter and police station in the South County area; for construction and renovation for the Police heliport, Operations Support Bureau facilities and Emergency Vehicle Operations and K9 Center.

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