Voting in last November's elections was hectic for Greenspring Village residents when rain and the cold turned the polls at Garfield Elementary into a mob scene. This year, Greenspring Village is one step closer to being its own voting precinct, Precinct 426, eliminating the need to shuttle residents to Garfield and giving them a sense of voting unity.
The vote at the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting, Monday, March 24, was unanimous in favor of creating a new precinct. The next step is to present it to the Department of Justice, according to Maggie Luca, secretary of the Fairfax County Election Board.
"We have to go to the Department of Justice," she said. "Everybody is real excited."
The retirement community already has enough people required for a voting precinct, and more apartments are under construction nearby. Luca noticed a lot of the election officers have moved to Greenspring Village after retiring.
"Already, there were 2,000 registered voters in Greenspring," she said.
According to Supervisor Dana Kauffman (D-Lee), only 500 registered voters are necessary for a new precinct. He was part of the effort to get it through the Board.
"Yesterday, we approved the new voting precinct," Kauffman said. "It all started with Greenspring's AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) group."
Greenspring resident Fran Richardson has been an election representative working at Garfield through the years and wasn't sure about the need for a precinct at Greenspring. She was there last November.
"It was a cold day," she said. "They could have made adjustments. I think it was adequate."
Richardson thought the seniors had the choice of absentee ballots, but she also looked at the positive side.
"Some people will vote that wouldn't otherwise," she said.
Fellow resident and polling official Patty Kirk knew about the effort to make a new voting precinct for years.
"When we first came to Greenspring, this was talked about," Kirk said. "My only concern is parking. There is a small amount of visitor parking available."
Part of the Springvale community next to Greenspring may be included in the precinct.
THE CURRENT PLAN is to put the polls in the new convention center at Greenspring Village. It is a gated community, with a 24-hour guard at the entrance. To adhere to polling rules, it would have to be accessible during polling hours.
"They'll have to leave their gates open," Luca said.
Officials are trying to expedite the procedure so the polls will be open for the June 10 Republican primary.
"We've expedited the request to the Justice Department," Luca said.