Remember when Alexandria precinct returns were posted to the Internet a few minutes after the polls closed? Well, forget about it.
Next week, Alexandria Registrar Tom Parkins will unveil the latest in voting technology — paper ballots. For election officials, everything old is new again. Aside from giving voters the ability to vote with an electronic machine or a paper ballot, the registrar is also scrapping the practice of calling in returns.
“With the longer ballot and the risk of errors being called in or recorded, we’ve decided that we are going to have the results picked up and driven in before they are entered in our reporting system,” said Parkins.
It’s not quite as old school as carrier pigeons or carriage rides. But it does mean that the result of Tuesday’s hotly contested Democratic primary for the Alexandria City Council won’t happen at the speed of sound. In fact, the Alexandria Democratic Committee’s official event isn’t even scheduled to begin until two hours after the polls close.
“We don’t want to make an error which could cause a loss of confidence in us as election administrators,” said Parkins.
Last year, Virginia Republicans decided to have a primary rather than a convention to select their gubernatorial candidate. But now that the party’s governing board has several new members, some are pushing to reconsider that decision. That could have drastic consequences for the hotly contested race between Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
“A convention would be dominated by activists who are likely to be more conservative, and presumably they would prefer the person who is seen as the more conservative candidate in this race,” said University of Virginia Center for Politics analyst Kyle Kondik. “That would be Cuccinelli as opposed to Bolling.”
Intrigue is building on the Democratic side of the ticket too. Former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe has emerged as a frontrunner in the race after losing the Democratic primary back in 2009. But that could be jeopardized if Old Town resident Sen. Mark Warner decides to throw his hat into the ring.
“If Warner jumps in, he becomes the candidate for sure. I think McAuliffe has even said that,” said Kondik. “But if Warner doesn’t run, I think McAuliffe is probably the odds-on favorite to be the nominee.”
The results of the presidential race could be a factor because the party that wins the presidency traditionally loses the gubernatorial election in Virginia.
A Brief About Tim Lovain
Running to return to the seat he lost three years ago, former Councilman Tim Lovain has decided to scrap some of the more formal aspects of running for City Council and have a little fun.
Drivers may have seen signs that proclaim, “a yard sign for Tim Lovain.” There’s also “a T-shirt for Tim Lovain” and “a nametag for Tim Lovain.” This week, voters received a piece of direct mail featuring the candidate holding a bowling ball and explaining that “Tim Lovain is not good at bowling … but he is good at transportation and a lot of other things.”
“We wanted to find a way to make people smile and get their attention,” said Lovain. “So many political ads look alike. We wanted to do something different.”
Lovain said that he had help from a supporter who has experience in the advertising world, although he didn’t want to name names. For the record, the candidate says he is actually pretty bad at bowling.
“I usually bowl around 100 or so, but not much more than that,” he said. “Although I don’t really bowl much any more.”