Updated: Democratic Primary in the Hunter Mill District in Full Swing

(Updated at 1:10 p.m.) Voting is in full swing for the Democratic primary as five candidates vie for Hunter Mill District Supervisor — a seat vacated by local veteran legislator Cathy Hudgins.

As of 1 p.m., turnout in the Hunter Mill District was around 4.7 percent — the highest of all other districts in the county. Overall, turnout in the county is 3.4 percent.

The morning got off to a slow start. Campaign volunteers at Reston Community Centers said they only saw a handful of candidates between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. today (Tuesday). Campaign signs flapped quietly in the wind as the casual voter strolled in.

In previous years, voter turnout for local primaries has been under 10 percent. For example, in the 2010 Republican primary, turnout was just under 5 percent in the Hunter Mill District.

So far, Comstock spokeswoman Maggie Parker leads total fundraising with $258,225 raised, despite a late start to her campaign. Former Fairfax County Planning Commissioner Walter Alcorn — who has also picked up a number of local and county endorsements — raised $102,749.

U.S. Air Force Veteran and community advocate Shyamali Hauth raised $28,738 — a little more than lawyer Laurie Dodd, who raised $24,919. Recent Roanoke College graduate Parker Messick raised a little over $7,000.

Candidate profiles published on Reston Now are linked below:

Voters will also select a new chair for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors:

Information about the complete ballot is available online.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. today. Acceptable forms of identification include a Virginia driver’s license, a U.S. passport, employer-issued photo ID, and student photo ID. Only one form of ID is required.

County officials will post updates on Twitter about voter turnout totals throughout the day. Unofficial election returns are expected to come in starting around 7 p.m. today.

As a reminder, registered voters of any party can participate in the Democratic primary.

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Del. Ken Plum: A Crowded Field

This 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.

If a sign of a healthy democracy is a lot of people running for elective office, we have become a true democracy in Virginia. This year is a busy year for elections because a lot of terms for elective offices are up this year. In Fairfax County, for example, all the seats on the County Board of Supervisors are up for election as is the chairman of the Board who is elected county-wide. The June 11 Democratic Party primary election has four contenders vying for the supervisor’s seat that is being vacated with the retirement of Supervisor Cathy Hudgins. I am not sure whether the Republicans intend to nominate a candidate to make for a race on November 5. For chairman of the Board there is a Democratic primary to pick the nominee who the Republicans will presumably challenge in the November election.

School Board members for Fairfax County also are up for election. A member is chosen for each magisterial district plus three at-large members. School board elections are non-partisan, but candidates seek endorsement of one of the major parties. Currently there is a scramble in Hunter Mill district to replace retiring member Pat Hynes. A broad and diverse field of candidates is seeking party endorsements.

Constitutional offices which in Fairfax County are the Commonwealth Attorney and the sheriff are also on the ballot this November. The incumbent Commonwealth Attorney must withstand a primary challenge in the Democratic Party before getting to the fall election. The sheriff is likely to move smoothly through the November election.

Adding to the number of candidates for whom you are likely to see ads, receive brochures or answer those pesky robo-calls are the candidates for the House of Delegates and the Senate, all of whom are up for election this year. While it is too early to know for sure who all the challengers will be as it is possible for political parties to name candidates up until early June, we already know the field is crowded. There is an unprecedented number of challenges in primaries and a larger than usual number of retirements of incumbents. On the State Senate side there are eleven Democratic and five Republican primaries that include challenges to four incumbent Democrats and three Republican incumbents.

On the House of Delegates side of the General Assembly there are 13 Democratic primaries involving five incumbents and seven Republican primaries with two incumbents being challenged. These numbers do not include districts in which conventions may be held to select candidates.

All this activity is good news for democracy but might seem overwhelming to voters. At this point in time races are not all set with candidates. After the June 11 primaries, the line-ups will be clearer. Party activists will be busy informing voters who their candidates are. In the meantime, please forgive me if any of my numbers are off as this story continues to emerge. The good news is there will be many choices that have the potential to lead to better government. Don’t be alarmed by this crowded field!

File photo

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As Voting Deadline Nears, RA Candidates Hover Near Quorum

With the Reston Association’s voting deadline less than one week away, Reston Now has the latest update on the Board of Directors’ election.

The five uncontested seats each need to reach a quorum of 10 percent of eligible voters to make the election results official.

Here are the percentages of the returned votes for the third week of voting:

  • At Large: 9.80 percent
  • Hunters Woods/Dogwood: 8.23 percent
  • Lake Anne/Tall Oaks: 8.47 percent
  • North Point: 11.68 percent

The received ballots include 1,282 ones submitted electronically and 888 paper ones.

The deadline was extended from April 1 to April 3 after the association found out that a technical issue caused approximately 2,800 paper ballots to be returned as undeliverable.

Results of the election will be announced at the Annual Members’ Meeting on April 9.

Photos courtesy Reston Association

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Reston Association Extends Voting Period After Paper Ballot Flub

The Reston Association is giving Restonians a few extra days to vote in the Board of Directors’ election after a technical issue caused approximately 2,800 paper ballots to be returned to RA as undeliverable.

The RA Elections Committee became aware of the issue last Friday (March 15), RA said in a press release yesterday (March 20).

The association then told Intelliscan, an independent vendor that provides election and survey services, to resend the ballots to the correct addresses and extend the voting period to 5 p.m. on April 3.

“The original deadline of April 1 was changed in order to accommodate some voters who did not receive their ballots when expected earlier this month,” the press release says.

The five uncontested seats each need to reach a quorum of 10 percent of eligible voters to make the election results official.

Three candidates are incumbents:

  • Catherine Baum for a one-year term as the Apartment Owners Representative
  • Caren Anton for a one-year term as the Hunters Woods/Dogwood Representative
  • John Mooney for a three-year term as the North Point Representative

Tom Mulkerin, a residential real estate agent who has served on the board of the Lakewinds II Cluster Association, is running for a three-year-term At-Large seat.

Aaron Webb, who has served on the board of the Lakeside Cluster, is running for a three-year term for the Lake Anne/Tall Oaks Representative, which is currently filled by Sherri Herbert.

Results of the election will be announced at the Annual Members’ Meeting on April 9.

Photos courtesy Reston Association

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Here’s the Status on the Reston Association Board of Directors Elections

(Updated at 9:50 a.m.) The Reston Association recently released the results of the first two weeks of the Board of Directors elections, which are currently in progress until April 1.

Here are the percentages of the returned votes for the first two weeks:

  • At Large: 6.38 percent
  • Hunters Woods/Dogwood: 5.23 percent
  • Lake Anne/Tall Oaks: 5.32 percent
  • North Point: 7.64 percent

“Although this year’s five seats are uncontested, a quorum of 10 percent of eligible voters needs to be reached to make the election results official, so it’s important that all members vote,” Mike Leone, RA’s director of communications and community engagement, told Reston Now.

The received ballots include 984 ones submitted electronically and 425 paper ones.

Leone said that he was not surprised by the results so far. “Week one and two results represent mostly those members who cast their vote electronically. Over the next few weeks we will also see paper ballots returned along with more electronic votes,” he said.

Three candidates are incumbents:

  • Catherine Baum for a one-year term as the Apartment Owners Representative
  • Caren Anton for a one-year term as the Hunters Woods/Dogwood Representative
  • John Mooney for a three-year term as the North Point Representative

Tom Mulkerin, a residential real estate agent who has served on the board of the Lakewinds II Cluster Association, is running for a three-year-term At-Large seat.

Aaron Webb, who has served on the board of the Lakeside Cluster, is running for a three-year term for the Lake Anne/Tall Oaks Representative, which is currently filled by Sherri Herbert.

The results will get announced at the Annual Members’ Meeting in April.

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Candidate Forum for RA Election Slated for Last Week of February

In 13 days, locals will get a chance to hear from the candidates running for the five open seats on Reston Association’s Board of Directors.

The seats up for election this year are uncontested.

The forum gives Restonians the opportunity to “meet the candidates for the 2019 Board of Directors election in this debate-style candidates’ forum,” according to the Reston Association. It is slated to start at 6:30 p.m. at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive) on Wednesday, Feb. 27.

Three candidates are incumbents, including Apartment Owners’ Representative Catherine Baum, Hunters Woods/Dogwood Representative Caren Anton and North Point Representative John Mooney.

Tom Mulkerin, a residential real estate agent, is running for a three-year-term At-Large seat. Aaron Webb, who has served on the board of the Lakeside Cluster, is running for a three-year term for the Lake Anne/Tall Oaks Representative, which is currently filled by Sherri Herbert.

The forum will take place just a few days before the voting period begins on March 4. Voting will end on April 1, and the election results will be announced at the Annual Members’ Meeting later that month.

File photo

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Election Nears for 86th District Seat in Virginia House of Delegates

Voters have an upcoming special general election for the 86th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

On Saturday (Jan. 12), Ibraheem Samirah was nominated to represent the Democratic Party to fill State Sen. Jennifer Boysko’s vacated seat.

Samirah will run in the special election set for Feb. 19 with a campaign focused on healthcare, transportation and education.

“I am deeply humbled that voters chose me to be their democratic nominee to represent them in the House of Delegates,” Samirah said in a press release. “I entered this race to fight for the progressive values we all share–such as affordable healthcare, decreased transportation costs and improved early-childhood education.”

Samirah is a first-generation Muslim American who is the son of Palestinian refugees. He was separated from his father in middle school when his father was barred from re-entering the U.S.

He is currently a dentist at District Smiles.

He faced three other Democratic candidates — Kofi AnnanMike O’Reilly and Chad Thompson — for the nomination and won with a little more than 35 percent of the vote. More than 2,000 people voted in the primary.

“Ibraheem will be a tireless and effective advocate for Fairfax and Loudoun counties, and we look forward to having him join our caucus and help us make Virginia better for everyone,” House Democratic Caucus Executive Director Trevor Southerland said in a statement.

Boysko also congratulated Samirah, saying she pledges her support to work with him in the Virginia General Assembly.

“I know Ibraheem will continue the great work we have done in working to reduce gun violence, supporting our schools and teachers, and building an economy that works for everyone,” she said in a statement.

Local Republicans have not announced plans to nominate a candidate, according to the Loudoun Times-Mirror.

Photo via Samirah for Delegate/Facebook

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Del. Jennifer Boysko’s State Senate Win Opens Up 86th District Seat

The Virginia House of Delegates has an opening for a seat that represents Herndon.

Del. Jennifer Boysko, a Democrat currently representing the 86th District, won the special election yesterday (Jan. 8) to take over the 33rd District seat in the State Senate vacated by Jennifer Wexton when she became a Congresswoman.

Boysko won with just under 70 percent of the vote, while her opponent, Republican Joe May, received about 30 percent. With Boysko moving to the State Senate, voters will get choose who will fill her district seat, which includes Herndon.

Several Democratic candidates announced they will vie for the seat, including:

The Democratic candidates will vie for the spot at the primary on Saturday (Jan. 12).

Herndon residents who are registered voters in the 86th District can vote between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Dranesville Elementary School (1515 Powells Tavern Place).

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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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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Friday Morning Notes

Absentee voting begins today — Voting begins today at the Fairfax County government center and ends on Oct. 13 at nine additional locations. Absentee votes can also be cast by mail. The ballots for Town of Herndon residents will include options for mayor and town council members. [Fairfax County Government]

How about some hairspray — Reston Community Players will kick off its 52nd season with the musical Hairspray. It opens on October 19 and runs through November 10 at Reston Community Center. [Reston Community Players]

Missing endangered man found — Patrick Brown, 74, an endangered man who went missing yesterday, was found and is safe. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Photo by Kit Allgaier

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Del. Ken Plum: Un-Gerrymandering Legislative Districts in Virginia

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.

On August 30, I and my colleagues in the General Assembly will return to the State Capitol in Richmond at the request of Governor Ralph Northam to un-gerrymander eleven House of Delegates districts that have been found by a panel of federal judges to be unconstitutional. The court’s action was based on a finding that the districts as drawn violated the equal protection of the law afforded to everyone by the United States Constitution.

In the redistricting of 2011, the Republicans who had a majority in the House of Delegates packed African Americans in the Richmond-Hampton Roads regions into the eleven districts that have been found unconstitutional. From a partisan perspective the packing resulted in African Americans who historically vote Democratic to be limited in their influence over voting outcomes throughout the region. From a legal perspective African Americans were denied their constitutional protection from the gerrymandering that put them into fewer districts over which they might have an influence.

The requirement to un-gerrymander legislative districts in Virginia is not new. Most recently and earlier this year the congressional districts in the Richmond-Hampton Roads region were found to be unconstitutional. When the districts were redrawn Democrats won an additional congressional seat with an African American candidate.

Unraveling a partisan gerrymander is not easy. With the congressional districts, the courts had to redraw them because the General Assembly could not come to an agreement as to how it should be done. There is serious concern as to whether the General Assembly will be able to redraw the district lines for the House of Delegates or whether it will revert to the courts for correction. With any of these revisions there are likely to be winners and losers, and legislative bodies have not shown the ability to draw lines that will disadvantage a member(s) in re-election. With the congressional redistricting, for example, one member of Congress lost a seat to the African American candidate who ran in a newly redrawn district.

To correct the clear racial discrimination in the eleven districts that have been found to be unconstitutional, it will be necessary to redraw more than thirty district lines as currently constituted. As the redrawing takes place some voters will find themselves in new districts as will some incumbent legislators. The election outcomes are likely to be different as the racial bias of how the districts have been drawn is removed.

The courts have not taken up cases of gerrymandering when allegations of partisan discrimination are alleged. The courts are interested in issues of constitutional protections most often found when racial discrimination can be shown. Issues of removing partisanship from the redistricting process, as some have expressed it–to have the people choose their elected representatives instead of legislators choosing their constituents–have been resolved in other places by having an independent, nonpartisan commission draw the lines. I first introduced a bill to establish such a commission in Virginia in 1982 and have introduced such a bill many times.

The General Assembly must carry out its responsibility to undo the racially discriminating districts that currently exist. Additionally, it should take the next step to put an independent non-partisan commission in place.

File photo

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Candidates Sought for Reston Community Center’s Board of Governors

Reston Community Center has issued a call for candidates to run for seats on the Board of Governors, a nine-member body that oversees RCC.

Candidates for one of three open positions with three-year terms must complete candidacy filings by 5 p.m. on August 15 (Wednesday).

Each year, candidates are selected through a community preference poll with votes cast by residents and businesses located in Small District 5, a geographical area that broadly applies to Reston zip codes.

Online and mail-in balloting and walk-in voting will run from September 7 through September 29 until 5 p.m. Mail-in ballots must be received before 5 p.m. on September 27.

The Board of Governors establishes RCC policies, sets priorities for programs and makes decisions about the budget. The body was established by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, which will appoint board members based on votes cast.

Photo via Reston Community Center

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Chalk on the water — Unleash your creativity this weekend as Lake Anne Plaza’s ground becomes a canvas for amateur and professional artists alike. [Public Art Reston]

Stateside: June 12 — The primary elections in Virginia and Fairfax County are on Tuesday, June 12. All 243 precincts will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]

Happening nearby: motorized partitions — “Schools in Fairfax County, Virginia, will be allowed to use motorized panel doors again after a little boy died in a “tragic accident” at his elementary school. Wesley Lipicky was killed on May 18 after he was crushed between a motorized panel and a wall.” [NBC4]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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In Closely Watched Virginia Election, Votes in Reston Mirror Statewide Results

Democrat Ralph Northam clenched victory over Republican Ed Gillespie in the competitive race to become Virginia’s 73rd governor Tuesday — statewide results that echoed locally in a bellwether race watched around the nation as judgment on President Donald Trump.

Democrats swept statewide offices, including the lieutenant governor and attorney general. In the Hunter Mill District, Northam won in every precinct with 61 percent of all votes – slightly below the countywide average of 67 percent and above the statewide return of 54 percent. Northam took 30,201 of the 49,788 ballots cast while Gillespie grasped 45 percent of the vote. The tightest race was in the Colvin Precinct where Northam won by a 59 percent to 40 percent margin over Gillespie, who took 54 percent of the total vote statewide.

Democrat Justin Fairfax won over Republican state Sen. Jill Vogel in the race for lieutenant governor while Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring was reelected over Republican John Adams.

Overall, voters took to the polls in greater numbers this year. Turnout in the Hunter Mill District was just under 50 percent, roughly six percentage points below the statewide voter turnout of 56 percent.

The Flint Hill precinct reported the highest turnout at nearly 66 percent. The lowest turnout was reported at the McNair precinct where turnout rested at a mum 45 percent compared to the district-wide average of 60 percent.

Voters also passed a measure that would approve the sale of $315 million in bonds to fund school improvement projects throughout the county. The measure passed with 73 percent of the total vote. Locally, the funds would allow the county to move forward on renovations to one modular buildings; additions to three county high schools; renovations to 10 elementary schools, three middle schools, two high schools; and the construction of two new elementary schools.

Democrat Ken Plum, Reston’s current delegate, will also continue serving as the local delegate for the 36th district. Plum, who worked for roughly 20 years as a public school teacher an administrator prior to his role in politics, ran in an uncontested race.

To view complete election results, visit Fairfax County’s interactive map or view results online.

Photo by Fatimah Waseem.

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