Reston, VA

A bill that no longer requires voters to provide an excuse to cast an absentee ballot cleared the Senate this week.

The bill, which was introduced by Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) allows registered voters to cast an absentee ballot in any election where the voter is qualified to cast a ballot.

Howell’s bill was part of a package of bills that tweak the voting process in Virginia.

Other proposals, which got a green light from the Senate earlier this week, include designating Election Day as a state holiday and extending the deadline for the receipt of military and overseas absentee ballots.

Proposals in the House and Senate to remove photo ID requirements were killed in committee.

The proposals would have allowed voters to show registration statements, bank documents or other government-issued paperwork with the name and address of the voter.

Howell’s bill passed in the Senate by a 31-9 vote.

Photo by Catherine Moran

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Super Tuesday” is in March — but Fairfax County is reminding voters about absentee voting and seeking election officers now.

Absentee voting for the 2020 presidential primary starts later this week on Friday, Jan. 17.

The deadline to register to vote in the March 3 primary is Feb. 10. People can check their voter eligibility on the Virginia State Board of Elections website.

Last week, the county announced that it needs 2,100 election officers for the primary.

The Office of Elections especially is looking for bilingual officers who speak Korean or Vietnamese for the Falls Church area, along with Annadel and Centreville, according to the county.

Election officers help set up voting equipment, check photo IDs and tabulate poll results. Compensation starts at $175 or people can choose to volunteer their time.

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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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Tuesday Morning Notes

Proposed Changes to Land Use Regulations Unveiled Today — Fairfa County officials will showcase proposed revisions to zoning land use regulations as part os its zoning modernization project — zMOD — today (Tuesday) at the Fairfax County Government Center at 7 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]

INOVA Blood Drive is Today — The bloodmobile will be stationed next to the pavilion from 1-6 p.m. today. Appointments to donate blood can be scheduled online or by calling 1-866-256-6372. [Reston Town Center]

Absentee Voting in Full Swing — Absentee voting, which kickstarted last Thursday, across 10 locations in Fairfax County is underway. Locations will be open Mondays through Saturdays until Saturday, Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]

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(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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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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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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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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(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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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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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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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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