Despite the downpour of rain on Tuesday, a steady stream of voters cast their votes at Armstrong Elementary School in Reston. As of 2 p.m. on Tuesday, 209,223 residents of Fairfax County voted in Virginia’s election.
The state is only of of two in the United States with statewide elections this year. Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam are vying for governor in what is expected to be a narrow contest, according to The New York Times. Libertarian Cliff Hyra is also running.
In the last election in 2013, turnout rested at 46.8 percent. With a little more than four hours before polls close, turnout this year sits at 30.6 percent, according to the county.
A record number of absentee ballots were cast this year, according to Fairfax County officials. More than 41,000 Virginians participated in early voting, up by roughly 61 percent from voting in 2013. Absentee voting was up in every jurisdictions in Virginia, except three, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, a non-profit organization that provides information about local politics.
There are more than 684,041 active registered voters in Fairfax County. Throughout the day, voters trickled in at various polling sites throughout Reston and Fairfax County. By 10 a.m., nearly 16 percent or roughly 109,000 of registered voters already casted their ballot.
All 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates are up for election. Fifty-five of those seats are contested.
Reston’s current Delegate, Democrat Ken Plum, is running without opposition in this election. Plum is currently serving his 36th year as the local Delegate for the 36th District, which includes Reston. Prior to his political appointment, he served for roughly 20 years as a public school teacher and administrator. Plum recently commented on his unopposed race for re-election in his weekly commentary.
Two candidates, Republican Jill Vogel and Justin Fairfax are running to replace Ralph Northam as Virginia’s lieutenant governor, a role which often presides over the State Senate, and has the power to break tie votes. The race for attorney general is between the current attorney general, Democrat Mark Herring, and his opponent, Republican John Adams.
The Board of Supervisors has asked residents to approve the sale of $315 million in bonds. If approved, the county has published a list of school improvement projects they would use the money to pay for.
The American Civil Liberties Union received multiple reports from Virginia voters who said that they received calls falsely saying their polling place had changed. The civil liberties organization advised voters to confirm polling locations at elections.virginia.gov and report any issues by calling the organization at 804-644-8080.
Photo by Fatimah Waseem
Reston voters who previously voted at Terraset Elementary will now be part of the Hughes Precinct.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the name change at Tuesday’s meeting. That procedure must be followed under Virginia voting laws.
Voters had been casting ballots at Terraset since 1976, but their polling place was moved next door to Hughes Middle School in 2014 to make way for construction at Terraset.
Even though the extensive renovations are expected to be completed soon, it looks as though the voting at Hughes, 11401 Ridge Heights Rd., is there to stay.
The name change does not alter the precinct boundaries (see map above) or the voting representation (it is still the 11th Congressional District; 32nd Virginia House District; and 36th Virginia Senate District).
Registered voters in the Commonwealth go to the polls March 1, along with 111 other states.
Have you decided who gets your vote? Take our poll and let’s see which way Reston is leaning. Don’t worry, it’s confidential. No one is selling any info to campaigns. Also, candidate names were generated in random order by the polling software and show no bias on the part of Reston Now.
Fairfax County Electoral Board Secretary Katherine K. Hanley, a Reston resident and the former county supervisor chair (1995-2003), asked the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to ask the Fairfax County Public School board to close schools on primary day.
“That’s about as contentious as anything we can possibly be doing in a polling place on Election Day,” she told the supervisors. She said she is concerned about backlash from Donald Trump supporters — and opponents — that could occur at polling places. (more…)
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on Dec. 8 to consider changes to the election precincts and polling places.
Fairfax County staff is making the recommendation that Aldrin and North Point precincts, which currently have a combined roster of nearly 9,000 registered voters, divide to create a new precinct to redistribute the voters in this area.
The proposal will create a new precinct from the southern portion of North Point to be named “Armstrong,” and its polling place will be established at Armstrong Elementary School (11900 Lake Newport Road, Reston).
The northern portion of North Point combined with the northern portion of Aldrin will retain the name “North Point” and its polling place will be St. Thomas à Becket Catholic Church (1421 Wiehle Avenue, Reston).
The southern portion of Aldrin will retain the name “Aldrin” and its polling place
will remain at the Aldrin Elementary School (11375 Center Harbor Road,
The additional polling place would cut down on lines in busy election years. Aldrin would have 2,892 registered voters; Armstrong, 3,376; and Northpoint , 2,998, county officials said.
See attached map for suggested boundaries.
The Fairfax County Board of Elections would like to get optimal turnout for the primary, so it has asked the Fairfax County Public Schools board if there can be a delayed start to the school day that day, FCPS said in a statement.
Based on the anticipated numbers of voters who are expected to participate in the presidential primary, and to avoid congestion at the schools during arrival times, the board says it is is considering the delayed opening.
The school calendar cannot change without a school board vote, so the school board will discuss and vote on it at its Oct. 22 business meeting. If the Board does vote for the delayed opening, it will reduce the number of built-in snow days from 13 to 12.7 for the 2015-16 school year.
In Fairfax County, 165 of the 196 schools and centers are used as polling places. FCPS policies and regulations require that parking spaces are to be reserved for voters.
Other states holding primaries on March 1 include Alabama, Alaska (GOP), Arkansas,
Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee,
Texas, Vermont, Virginia.
According to results published Tuesday, Wingert, a former Reston Association CEO, commanded 1,241 votes in the race to help lead the Colts Neck Road activity and educational center.
Keefe, a former RCC board member who was not re-elected in 2013, came in second with 1,119 votes. Penniman, who has served on the board for eight years, received 1,103 votes. And candidate Linda Singer, who has been involved in many local groups, came in fourth with 984 votes.
The newly elected board members discussed the RCC’s future at a community meeting last month. They weighed in how the center can accommodate growth, and a proposal to build a new pool.
Penniman said then that he’ll work to improve the center.
“No other community center has this kind of energy — it is important we preserve it,” he said. “It is important we continue to strengthen and rise to meet needs that will grow.”
The Fairfax County Electoral Board has referred 17 names to the Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney, the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia and the federal Department of Justice for investigation of possible voter fraud. The county says some of the people’s names have appeared in multiple federal elections over the last decade.
“The Electoral Board takes its responsibility to ensure election integrity seriously,” Board Secretary Brian W. Schoeneman said in a statement. “After our initial review of county voting records and a comparison to Maryland voting records, we determined that it was in the public interest to refer these individuals to law enforcement for investigation.”
Schoeneman says the people “have not been accused of a crime and are of diverse ages, genders and political affiliations.”
The issues were revealed earlier this year after a third party voter organization review. The county then requested voting records from Maryland, which were compared to Fairfax County’s records. A review of those records led the board to conclude that there was sufficient evidence to warrant referrals to law enforcement for further investigation. A statewide list was provided to the Virginia Department of Elections, Schoeneman said.
One of the challengers is a familiar name to Restonians and to Reston Now readers — Colin Mills. Mills is the president of the Reston Citizens Association. He also runs a regular column on Reston Now.
Also seeking the three-year At-Large term: Jeffery Thomas, a resident of Reston for 43 years who served five years as Reston Little League president; Mason Miller, who has lived in Reston for 38 years and currently runs a web application development firm here; and Michael Mackert, a law enforcement official who says he will advocate for smart growth.
There are two candidates for the one-year At-Large vacancy created when Donna Rostant resigned in 2013 after she moved out of Reston Association’s boundaries and was unable to get her new home added to the association. RA by-laws state directors must be RA members. The seat had been temporarily filled by RA secretary John Higgins.
Gerald Valloy, a former CEO of Reston Association and a member of the Reston Master Plan Special Study Task Force, will seek that seat. The other candidate is Rachel Muir, a science advisor for the United States Geological Survey who has been active in environmental programs.
Only one candidate filed to run for the Hunters Woods/Dogwood Spot: Lucinda Shannon, a Reston resident since 2007 who is interested in smart and sustainable growth for the community.
There is also an open spot for the Apartment Owners Director. RA CEO Cate Fulkerson says the final application deadline for candidates for that spot is Feb. 14.
Reston Now will profile each candidate as election season nears.
Ballots will be mailed to RA members. Elections will open by mail and online in early March. Results will be announced in early April.