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Votes

Referendum Items, Duty Influence Election Day Turnout

The transportation sales tax proposal and a sense of duty were the reasons Vienna residents came out to vote Tuesday. Although the three congressional races ran virtually uncontested, voters wanted to voice their opinion on the transportation tax as well as the two bond items.

"We do have a serious traffic problem, so we get to solve it," said Vienna resident Claire Hassett, who voted for the transportation tax. She came to vote with her husband, Dan.

Besides ballot questions, several Vienna residents encountered a new voting device. The touch-screen machine is having its test run in three Vienna voting precincts. A competitor touch-screen machine is having its test run at three Reston precincts.

"They're lighter and easier to handle," said chief election officer and Vienna resident Catherine Thompson.

Out in the hallway of the Vienna Community Center were James Madison High School students demonstrating the new machine to incoming voters. They were also giving out fliers and pamphlets about the various bond items. The students were there for their government class.

"The candidates are running unopposed, so the most important part of the election is the bonds," said Madison student Hena Haidari.

The students observed that the number of voters coming in so far that morning had been fairly steady.

"It hasn't been particularly fast or slow, just a steady stream," said Madison student Anna Pearson.

Party representatives outside the Center said they thought the turnout overall was low.

"It's expected in an uncontested race," said Fairfax County Republican Committee representative Kevin McNiff. He was passing out Republican sample ballots to voters passing by.

Nancy Ruff, a representative for the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, stood next to him and agreed. She was also passing out sample ballots.

"I think everyone's pretty focused on the tax referendum," Ruff said.

As for a sense of how residents are voting, Ruff said she didn't know.

"It's this district, they don't usually voice an opinion. They're pleasant, but their vote is their vote," Ruff said.

As Ruff and McNiff were talking, Mark Kadonoff and his two children, Michaela and Gabriel, passed by. The father talked to the party representatives briefly.

Kadonoff came out to vote because of the transportation tax issue. When asked why he votes, Kadonoff replied, "because I can."