The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors praised election workers and volunteers yesterday (Tuesday) for their work on the 2020 general election, which presented local voters with new opportunities and unprecedented obstacles.
With voters turning out in record numbers, Fairfax County’s election staff had to adapt to the logistical challenges introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic on top of implementing a slew of new state laws to improve voting accessibility, including the introduction of no-excuse absentee voting and the elimination of photo identification requirements.
“There’s no doubt we had an amazing year,” Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck said. “[The election staff] came through with flying colors, and we definitely have to recognize that and appreciate that.”
While this year’s 79.4% turnout rate fell short of the 82.5% high mark set in 2016, the 605,023 ballots cast for the Nov. 3 general election were the most in Fairfax County history. There were also about 80,000 more active registered voters than in 2016 and only 25,667 inactive voters, compared to 64,041 in 2016.
Fairfax County Electoral Board Secretary Katherine Hanley confirmed again in a presentation to the Board of Supervisors that absentee voting drove turnout this year, with only 186,253 people voting in person on Election Day, an even lower number than election officials predicted.
By contrast, there were 414,381 absentee votes. The county received 222,003 by-mail absentee ballots, including approximately 85,000 that were returned through a drop box, and 192,398 people voted in person before Election Day at one of 15 early voting locations.
Fairfax County also had 4,389 provisional ballots.
According to Hanley, the Fairfax County Office of Elections contacted 2,113 voters about small issues with their mail ballots. 1,315 of those voters fixed their ballots, a 63% cure rate.
One thing that surprised election officials was the 17,633 ballots that were either surrendered or goldenrod, meaning that it was never received, lost, or left at home by the voter.
“That’s a much bigger number than we thought there would be,” Hanley said.
Because COVID-19 both triggered and coincided with so many changes in Virginia’s election policies, it is difficult to tell whether 2020 was an anomaly or a harbinger of long-lasting shifts in voter behavior, Hanley says.
Voters throughout the county consistently reported long lines and wait times once early voting commenced at the Fairfax County Government Center on Sept. 18, even after 14 satellite locations opened on Oct. 14.
While election officials tried to accommodate the crowds by extending voting times, they could not add more satellite locations, because Virginia law now requires localities to establish satellite voting locations by ordinance. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance establishing its locations for the Nov. 3 election on July 14.
Though the social distancing protocols necessitated by the pandemic will presumably not be a factor in future elections, Hanley says Fairfax County needs to expand early voting opportunities by adding more satellite locations and offering longer hours or more days for people to vote.
Hanley also recommended that the county review its curbside voting procedures, which caused some confusion this year, and its process for reporting preliminary election results, which took longer than usual because 6,100 ballots returned in drop boxes on Election Day had to be counted by hand after the polls closed.
“None of this will matter if the computer systems are not improved,” Hanley said, adding that the Virginia Department of Elections is in the process of upgrading or replacing the VERIS system it uses to manage voter registration and track ballots.
It will also be up to the state to make changes like the ballot drop boxes, voter notification process for curing errors, and prepaid postage for mail absentee ballots permanent. Those were temporary measures enacted by the Virginia General Assembly in response to COVID-19.
“I think ballot drop boxes are something we need to encourage the General Assembly to extend into the future, because they really did have the effect we wanted them to have,” Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross said.
In order to support many of these proposals long-term, Fairfax County will need to devote more money and staff to its election operations, Hanley cautioned.
She says she was “pleasantly surprised” by how many people stepped up to assist with this year’s general election, but it was more challenging to recruit workers for the satellite locations than for Election Day.
The county office of elections ultimately had 3,827 Election Day officers with 140 people in reserve for possible late cancellations, 260 election pages from 30 different schools, 265 early voting officers, 160 officers and three staff members to manage the central absentee precinct, and more than 300 people to handle by-mail absentee ballots.
“We were given a pretty much unlimited budget, and we exceeded it, because we did have other funds coming in,” Hanley said. “We’re going to have to make some judgments with you all about the most efficient way to serve this need and also be responsive to the taxpayers as well.”
Photo via Fairfax County government
In the 2020 presidential election, Fairfax County voters cast a record number of votes — 600,238 — but the overall turnout was not record-breaking.
This year, 78.8 percent of the county’s 761,753 active registered voters took part in the election, down from the 2016 presidential election when turnout was 82.5 percent and roughly 563,000 votes were cast.
In the 2012 general election, the turnout rate was 80.5 percent
“This election year was unlike any other we have ever seen,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said. “Our turnout throughout the process was truly encouraging and spoke to our residents’ faith in the democratic process.”
Fairfax County voters strongly favored Democrats in this year’s election, supporting Joe Biden over incumbent President Donald Trump and reelecting Sen. Mark Warner, Rep. Don Beyer (8th District), Rep. Jennifer Wexton (10th District), and Rep. Gerry Connolly (11th District) to Congress. Precinct-level reporting offering some variation.
It’s important to note that while turnout did not break records, the number of registered voters went up significantly from around 683,000 in 2016 to 761,573 this year. More than two-thirds of votes cast were absentee votes due to no-excuse absentee voting.
The county expects to officially certify election results on Nov. 16.
The Hunter Mill District boasted the highest turnout for the election. More than 81 percent of the Hunter Mill District’s 93,193 active registered voters cast a ballot in the Nov. 3 election, either in person on Election Day or absentee. The district is also the only one in the county with over 90,000 active registered voters as of Oct. 30. Springfield District had the second highest turnout at 80.8%
In the Town of Herndon, Vice Mayor Sheila Olem swept up the Mayoral election with a resounding 61 percent of total votes. Roland Taylor took. 38 percent of the total vote.
The winners of the Herndon Town Council election were separated by a handful of votes. Town spokesperson Anne Curtis said the town is expected to announce results once they are certified by the county. On election night, early election results changed dramatically due to a data entry error.
While Virginia’s U.S. Congressional delegation looks like it will remain largely unchanged after the 2020 general election, voters approved a state constitutional amendment that will reshape the process for how their representatives will be chosen in the future.
One of two statewide referendums on the ballot, Constitutional Amendment 1 shifts responsibility for drawing congressional and state legislative district lines from the Virginia General Assembly to a redistricting commission made up of eight legislators and eight appointed citizens.
According to the Virginia Department of Elections unofficial returns, Amendment 1 passed with 65.91% of voters casting their ballot in favor of it, though a few precincts had not yet reported results by Wednesday night and the results will not be official until they are certified on Nov. 16.
Fairfax County approved the measure by a smaller margin than the overall state, with 53.69% of voters supporting it and 46.31% opposing.
“From the start, this movement has been about putting the voices of citizens above politicians and political parties. Today, Virginia voters spoke loud and clear in approving Amendment 1,” Fair Maps VA executive director Brian Cannon and campaign co-chairs Wyatt Durrette and Bobby Vassar said in a joint statement on Wednesday (Nov. 4).
With Virginia set to redraw district lines next year, Fair Maps VA says the proposed commission will combat partisan gerrymandering by giving members of the public “a seat at the table” instead of leaving redistricting exclusively in the hands of legislators, as previously dictated by the Constitution of Virginia.
The General Assembly will vote on new district maps, but it will not be able to change them. If new maps are not approved by set deadlines, the Supreme Court of Virginia will draw them.
“In creating a bipartisan redistricting commission…[voters] said they want a transparent redistricting process,” Cannon, Durrette, and Vassar said. “They want civil rights protections to be added to the state constitution for the very first time. And they said that they want to end partisan gerrymandering in Virginia once and for all.”
However, opponents argue the proposed commission still gives lawmakers too much authority in the once-a-decade redistricting process, allowing them to shape district boundaries to benefit themselves or their party.
Some are wary of the role judges will play in the new process. In addition to giving the Supreme Court the power to draw district maps if necessary, the amendment puts retired circuit court judges in charge of selecting citizens that legislators will ultimately appoint to the commission.
“I was a little surprised at the lopsidedness of the outcome,” Del. Marcus Simon (D-53rd District) said of Amendment 1’s passage. “I hoped we would’ve done a better job at communicating some of the flaws with the constitutional amendment and convincing folks that we can do a better job of redistricting reform without the amendment than with it.”
Like many other Democrats, Simon initially supported the amendment when legislation to put it on the ballot passed the General Assembly in 2019, but he reversed his position when the issue came up again, as required by state law, during the 2020 session.
Now that the amendment has passed, however, Simon says the General Assembly can craft legislation to address the issues that people have raised, such as bills to establish qualifications for citizens appointed to the commission, ensure diverse representation, and limit the Supreme Court’s discretion.
With the General Assembly still in a special session first convened in August to address the state budget and criminal justice reform, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam will likely introduce the first set of enabling legislation for the redistricting commission by the end of this week, and state lawmakers could vote on the proposals early next week, according to Simon.
“I think we can continue to work on a better constitutional amendment for 2031,” Simon said. “So, I plan to start working right away to try to get us to achieve truly independent and nonpartisan redistricting, if not in time for this redistricting, then for the future.”
Even as ballots are cast today, Fairfax County is already boasting a record turnout, thanks in large part to a surge in early voting.
Before Election Day, 399,600 votes were cast, equaling 70 percent of the total votes cast in the 2016 presidential election.
It’s still unclear if the county will break its 2016 record of 82.5 percent, which exceeded the statewide average.
As of 4 p.m. today, county officials estimate a 16.1 percentage voter turnout for today and an overall turnout of roughly 71 percent.
— Supervisor Walter Alcorn (@WalterAlcornFFX) November 3, 2020
With early voting taken into account, that turnout jumps to 51 percent. Voters turnout out in drives due in part to legislation allowing no-excuse absentee voting this year.
Residents have reported short lines at polling precincts.
Some voters reported issues with residents failing to wear masks inside voting precincts, especially at Reston Community Center. Voters are strongly encouraged to wear masks and socially distanced.
done voting at Reston Community Center. Two ppl there were not wearing masks. Q: Are poll workers able to deny entry to non-mask wears & have them use curbside option?@vaELECT @fairfaxcounty @fairfaxvotes @FairfaxDems @FairfaxGOP @FairfaxCountyPD
— Yavuz Fuz Inanli (@yaifuz26) November 3, 2020
Despite concerns about voter intimidation in the lead-up to Election Day, Fairfax County public information officer Brian Worthy says the county has not experienced any issues with voting at its 244 precincts so far, and turnout has been “light as expected” due to the high levels of early voters.
Angela Woolsey contributed reporting to this story.
After long lines for early voting, Election Date is finally here. so far, the county has unofficially reported more than 399,600 votes cast. County officials say this is 70 percent of the total votes cast in the 2016 presidential election and 50 percent of registered county voters have already cast their ballots. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know before you head to the polls today.
Casting Your Ballot
All polling places will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Reston. An acceptable form for identification is required. Voters are encouraged to wear masks or face coverings and remain socially distanced using markers placed outside polling places to help voters stand six feet apart. Note that several Fairfax County Park Authority polling sites will be open only to voters today, including Frying Pan Farm Park Visitor Center in Herndon.
Voters can return mail-in ballots at a ballot drop-off box, which will be available at every polling place today (Tuesday). A 24-hour box outside the Fairfax County Government will be available until 7 p.m. Ballots that are mailed must be postmarked by Nov. 3. If you plan to use a drop-off box, make sure the “b” envelope is inside your returning mail envelope. Further instructions, which will help the county process ballots faster, are available on the county’s website.
What’s On Your Ballot
The following is a breakdown of what to expect on your ballot. Sample ballots are available online.
President and Vice President
- Joseph R. Biden, President and Kamala D. Harris, Vice President: Democrat
- Donald J. Trump, President and Michael R. Pence, Vice President – Republican
- Jo Jorgensen, President and Jeremy F. “Spike” Cohen, Vice President – Libertarian
Member, United States Senate
- Mark R. Warner – Democrat
- Daniel M. Gade – Republican
Member House of Representatives, 11th District
- Gerry E. “Gerry” Connolly – Democrat
- Manga A. Anantatmula – Republican
The Town of Herndon
Town residents will vote for a new mayor from two candidates: Sheila Olem and Roland Taylor. Eight residents are running for six seats on the Herndon Town Council. You can read their candidate statements in the links below, if they provided to Reston Now.
- Stevan M. Porter
- Pradip Dhakal
- Sean M. Regan
- Naila Alam
- Cesar A. del. Aguila
- Signe V. Friedrichs
- Jasbinder Singh
- Clark A. Hedrick
Amendment #1 proposes that the creation of a redistricting commission with eight General Assembly members and eight state citizens o draw congressional and state legislative districts. The General Assembly would vote on the changes without proposing any changes. If the commission fails to draw districts or the General Assembly fails to enact districts by set deadlines, the responsibility of drawing districts would fall on the Supreme Court of Virginia.
Amendment #2 is written as follows: Should an automobile or pickup truck that is owned and used primarily by or for a veteran of the United States armed forces or the Virginia National Guard who has a one hundred percent service-connected, permanent, and total disability be free from state and local taxation?
Public libraries: Shall Fairfax County, Virginia, contract a debt, borrow money, and issue bonds in addition to the public library facilities bonds previously authorized, in the maximum aggregate principal amount of $90,000,000 for the purpose of providing funds, with any other available funds, to finance the cost to provide public library facilities, including the construction, reconstruction, enlargement, and equipment of existing and additional library facilities and the acquisition of necessary land?
Transportation bonds: Shall Fairfax County, Virginia, contract a debt, borrow money, and issue bonds, in addition to the transportation improvements and facilities bonds previously authorized, in the maximum aggregate principal amount of $160,000,000 for the purpose of financing Fairfax County’s share, under the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Compact, of the cost of constructing, reconstructing, improving, and acquiring transportation improvements and facilities, including capital costs of land, transit facilities, rolling stock, and equipment in the Washington metropolitan area?
Community health and human services bonds: Shall Fairfax County, Virginia, contract a debt, borrow money, and issue bonds, in addition to the human services facilities bonds previously authorized, in the maximum aggregate principal amount of $79,000,000 for the purpose of providing funds, with any other available funds, to finance the cost to provide community health and human services facilities, including the construction, reconstruction, enlargement, and equipment of existing and additional community health and human services facilities and the acquisition of necessary land?
Parks and parks facilities bonds
Shall Fairfax County, Virginia, contract a debt, borrow money, and issue bonds, in addition to the parks and park facilities bonds previously authorized, in the maximum aggregate principal amount of $112,000,000 for the following purposes: (i) $100,000,000 principal amount to finance the Fairfax County Park Authority’s cost to acquire, construct, reconstruct, develop, and equip additional parks and park facilities, to preserve open-space land, and to develop and improve existing parks and park facilities; and (ii) $12,000,000 principal amount to finance Fairfax County’s contribution to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority to acquire, construct, reconstruct, develop, and equip parks and park facilities?
Other Items of Note
Voters should call the Fairfax County Police Department’s non-emergency number at 703-691-2131 to report any disruptions to voting. The following activities are prohibited by state law:
- Loitering, campaigning or congregating within 40 feet of a polling place’s entrance
- Using a loudspeaker within 300 feet of a polling place
- Falsely assuming or exercising the powers, duties or functions of any county, city, state, or federal law-enforcement officer.
Results will be available on the Virginia Department of Elections’ website. Absentee ballots may be accepted until noon on Friday, Nov. 6.
Reston’s North County Governmental Center is one of the most popular spots for early voting in Fairfax County.
While turnout through the county — and country — is high, the Reston location has seen one of the highest turnouts of the county’s 13 satellite voting locations.
Overall, voters are coming out in droves in the county. So far, 301,000 ballots have been cast in total — almost more than 2.5 times more than the total number of absentee votes cast in 2016, according to county officials.
More than 7,300 ballots have been cast at the North County Governmental Center followed by about 6,100 ballots at the Herndon Fortnightly Library and 1,400 at Great Falls Library, which is only open on Saturdays and opened for voting on Oct. 17.
(10/28) Early voting just underway at 1 pm at North County Governmental Center in Reston. 100+ voters in line – If you’re getting in line now, expect 1.5 to 2 hour wait. #HunterMill #VoteEarly pic.twitter.com/WBVUJnVNKU
— Supervisor Walter Alcorn (@WalterAlcornFFX) October 28, 2020
County officials caution that wait times are still long.
“It takes 25 minutes or much longer depending on the place, day and time when voting,” said county spokesperson Brian Worthy.
The county has added two extra hours for early voting tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday. The change applies to 13 early voting sites, which typically open at 11 a.m. The hours at the Fairfax County Government Center remain unchanged.
Other than long waiting times, voting operations have been going relatively smoothly. The county swiftly moved to expand the number of satellite locations following arduous waiting times earlier this month.
While most voters have been masked, some residents have complained about party representatives failing to do so.
Worthy noted that while all individuals are encouraged to wear face coverings, the actions of party representatives cannot be controlled outside the 40-foot limit where campaigning is allowed.
The deadline for early voting this year is 5 p.m. on Oct. 31. Absentee ballots can be delivered by hand until 7 p.m. on Nov. 3 or by mail until noon on Nov. 6.
At this point, Worthy said it’s unclear how this year’s voting procedures will be adapted in future elections.
“After the 2020 election is finished, the Fairfax County Office of Elections will look at any lessons learned–but it’s too early to look back in the past since the office is focused on Election Day which is now just [six] days away.”
If you’re standing in line at North County Governmental Center for early voting – the Reston @fairfaxlibrary has magazines, books and kids activity packets to make your wait enjoyable! #HunterMill #RestonLibrary pic.twitter.com/AYwflNulkG
— Supervisor Walter Alcorn (@WalterAlcornFFX) October 28, 2020
Extra Early Voting Hours Added — The county has added two extra hours on early voting tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday. All sites will now open at 11 a.m., except for the Fairfax County Government Center, where voting still begins at 8 a.m. [Fairfax County Government]
Local Officer Honored for Being ‘True American Hero’ — Weblos, Den 1, Pack 913 from St. Joe’s honored Officer Murn for being a “true American hero.” [Herndon Police Department]
Reston Collects 303 Pounds of Old Meds — The Reston District Station and Reston Hospital Center collected 303 pounds of old medicines during the 19th annual National Drug Take Back Day this past weekend. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Photo by Elizabeth Copson
Dense Fog Advisory In Effect — The National Weather Service has issued a dense fog advisory until 10 a.m. today. Drivers should slow use, use car headlights, and leave plenty of distance between vehicles. [NWS]
Solutions Proposed to Reduce Early Voting Wait Times — With less than two weeks until Election Day, Fairfax’s NAACP President Sean Perryman says that the county should improve wait times for early voting. He sent a letter to county officials calling on measures like extending voting hours. [WJLA]
Reston Contractor Wins $135M Task Order — “Reston-based AceInfo Solutions LLC announced Tuesday it had been awarded a potential five-year, $135 million task order from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).” [Virginia Business]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
A Review of Bonchon in Plaza America — “Locals can now celebrate the reopening of area restaurants, and for Reston residents, a big culinary–and exotic–treat has opened in Plaza America, a few doors down from Whole Foods. That’s Bonchon, a Korean restaurant group that offers both traditional and modernized Korean chicken dishes, plus much more. For anyone who craves chicken in any way, shape, or form, Bonchon is an ideal destination.” [Reston Connection]
Lasagna Love Helps Fight Food Insecurity — An association manager professional from Reston is using her love for cooking to help feed people facing food insecurity to the pandemic. [Reston Patch]
New Pumping Carving Contest Comes to Reston — Reston Association is challenging residents to create designs on pumpkins in “The Greatest Pumping Carving Contest.” Winners will be announced on Oct. 30. Registration is required. [RA]
More Time to Register to Vote— A federal court has extended Virginia’s voter registration deadline after an accidentally clipped fiber optic cable took down the Department of Elections website on Tuesday for hours on the final day of voter registration. Voters in Virginia will now be able to register until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, in person or online. [NPR]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Satellite Voting Begins Today — Voters can cast their vote at one of 14 locations throughout the county beginning today (Wednesday). Local locations include the North County Government Center, Great Falls Library, and Herndon Fortnightly Library. [Fairfax County Government]
Northern Virginia Woman Starts Peanut Butter Business — “A new peanut butter store coming to Northern Virginia started when a mom from Reston built a booming business making peanut butter out of her house.” [NBC4]
Local Working Group to Meet Today — Reston Association’s Recreational Facilities Working Group will meet today (Wednesday) at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. [Reston Association]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
County Expands Early Voting… Early — The Fairfax County Government Center will be open for early voting his Saturday, Oct. 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., one week earlier than planned. A total of 14 locations will open on Oct. 14. [Fairfax County Government]
Reston Cybersecurity Firm Acquired by Baltimore’s ZeroFox — “Cyveillance, a Reston-based business unit of LookingGlass Cyber Solutions Inc., has been acquired by Baltimore cybersecurity firm ZeroFox.ZeroFox CEO James C. Foster said his company will absorb Cyveillance’s more than 130 employees and over 100 customers through the acquisition.” [Washington Business Journal]
FCPD Visits Communities for National Night Out — “National Night Out is a way for residents to connect with their local police officers and engage in fun activities with neighbors. Fairfax County Police Department had more than 40 events scheduled throughout the county tonight, including a parade in Reston to stop and visit with community members.” [Local DVM]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
If you’ve been to absentee in-person voting and the lines have seemed particularly long, you’re not alone.
Fairfax voters have been lining up at 12000 Government Center Parkway to cast their ballots early and avoid election day crowds, only to find themselves in long lines with other early voters turning up in record numbers.
Some said the numbers seemed to swell yesterday after the debate, but Public Information Officer Brian Worthy said the numbers have been pretty consistent.
“At least to me, it doesn’t seem like the lines are any longer, and I’ve been here at the Government Center for every day of early voting since it began,” Worthy said.
Last night's debate leading to even longer lines in Fairfax County- with still no extra rooms opened to allow people to vote faster. Limit of 5 voters to voting room, where they have to fill out paperwork, get checked in then fill out ballot. Complete debacle.
— Ben Tribbett (@notlarrysabato) September 30, 2020
Worthy said COVID-19 precautions have made wait times longer than usual.
“Since the start of early voting on Friday, Sept. 18, we have had two polling places open in the Government Center, and… we’re limiting the number of people in at any one time for the safety of both voters and poll workers,” Worthy said.
“Similarly, we’re keep the line outside because it’s safer for voters to wait there rather than inside the building. As result of COVID, voting is taking longer.”
A county employee at the location said despite the long lines, it was a fraction of what the line was like on previous days.
Two voters, Karen and James Shaver, said they watched the debate the previous night. They described it as “loud” but said it didn’t sway their vote.
In addition to the long lines, voters have endured harassment and attempts to keep people out of the building from supporters of President Donald Trump.
— Anthony Tilghman (@AnthonyTilghman) September 19, 2020
Worthy said the lines should be alleviated by plans to open up satellite facilities for voting later this month.
“We’re opening additional early voting sites on Oct. 14,” Worthy said. “We’ll have 14 additional locations open that day (including the Government Center) with a total of 15 starting on Saturday, Oct. 17.”
Jay Westcott contributed to this story
Local Career Fair Coming Soon — The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is hosting a virtual and respelling career fair on Oct. 8 from 1-4 p.m. The fair is open to all industries and levels of experience. [FCEDA]
A Thank You from Reston Association — Nathan Wheeler, RA’s aquatics facility supervisor, thanked RA members in a recent video for their patience with this year’s abridged and varied pool season. [Reston Today]
Early Voting Continues in Fairfax County — So far, Fairfax County residents have cast 7,760 in-person votes during the first week of early voting at the Fairfax County Government Center. Voting is open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]
Photo via vantagehill/Flickr
Early voting in Fairfax County is scheduled to begin on Friday, Sept. 18 at the Fairfax County Government Center Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Voting will also be available on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sept. 19, and on Oct. 14 through Oct. 31.
Any registered Fairfax County voter can vote early, according to a statement from the Fairfax County Government.
Starting Oct. 14, 13 additional early voting locations will open up across the county. These locations include the Herndon Fortnightly Library and North County Governmental Center. Great Falls Library will open for early voting on Oct. 17 and is only open on Saturdays.
Early voting will end on Oct. 31 at 5 p.m., according to the statement. There will be social distancing and enhanced cleaning measures to protect voters and poll workers.
Polls are now allowing multiple different forms of identification in place of a photo ID, including a copy of a voter’s current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or any other government document with the voter’s name and address. Expired Virginia drivers’ licenses are also allowed, according to the statement.
If a voter requested a mail-in ballot but now wants to vote early, they can bring their uncast mail-in ballot to the polling location and surrender it in exchange for a new, in-person ballot.
Those voters don’t want to mail in their cast ballot can return it at a drop-off box at any early voting site during open hours. Additionally, starting Sept. 21 the Fairfax County Government Center will have a 24-hour secure drop-off box at the government center.
Job seekers have the chance to apply for a new seasonal gig. The Fairfax County Office of Elections recently announced it’s hiring more than 200 workers for the November election.
The positions came about because the elections office is expecting a significant rise in absentee voting this year, Brian Worthy, a Fairfax County spokesperson, told Reston Now.
Applicants can apply to be considered for three various positions, according to the job listings.
About 200 people are needed to process mailed absentee ballots, starting around Sept. 28 and likely working until a few days after the election. Meanwhile, about 40 people will get hired to assist in–person absentee voters at satellite locations from Oct. 14-Oct. 31. A limited number of people are needed for the administration tasks like data input, which the job description did not include a timeframe for.
“Skills we are looking for are people who have attention to detail and basic computer skills,” Worthy said, adding that applicants must also be registered voters in Virginia. Other requirements and a detailed description of each position can be found online.
“For all positions, you are hired as a seasonal employee, paid hourly, and must go through a background check including fingerprinting. The work is seasonal with no benefits and is dependent on the election schedule,” the listing said, adding that most employees will be paid around $14 an hour. The opportunities are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“We are still in the hiring process so we don’t have a count of how many positions have been filled yet,” Worthy said.
Anyone interested in applying can fill out an online Survey Monkey form. Applicants shouldn’t be surprised if they don’t hear back right away, Worthy said.
“The hiring process does take some time, so people might not hear back immediately,” according to Worthy, who added that he encourages people to apply early so they will have plenty of time to complete the onboarding process.
According to Fairfax County’s website, there are also openings for local election officers. The county said that it’s received roughly 10 times the normal number of applications for the election officer roles.