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Votes

Column: Why Not Compulsory Voting?

— Of all the political campaigns going on none are more important than the locals. Why each and every citizen doesn’t run to their voting precincts on Voting Day has always been a puzzle.

Just as licenses are required to drive on public and private roadways residents should be required to vote or face a fine. Politicians more often than not get a bad rap for seeking public office but it takes lots of courage, time and thick skins if they dare to stand up and be counted. And, money too. Those who don’t vote shouldn’t complain.

Imagine the amount of fines Alexandria’s treasury could attain with compulsory voting for those 18- to 70-years of age. Balloting is expensive for the city. Perhaps voting should be done by using snail mail. This method could help save taxpayer dollars and maybe rescue to the U.S. Postal Service.

The next election for Alexandria City Council won’t be requiring poll workers, voting machines or public campaigning. It moves to the top floor of the Franklin P. Backus Courthouse on King Street where Chief Judge Lisa Kemler of Alexandria’s Circuit Court gets to make the choice. That’s a good thing, too. She’s probably received some counsel as to her selection to replace Delegate-Elect Rob Krupicka who’s hanging on to his seat on King Street until the end of September.

The plan for the new council member is to be a seat warmer, or fill-in, but with full rights and responsibilities until after the Nov. 6 election day. It was a slick move to have the councilmanic election to coincide with the national presidential race and most Alexandrians, except for the professional political watchers, didn’t pay any attention to the move from spring to the fall.

Without portfolio, there are some good candidates out there who would be perfect to join the lawmakers. They are all citizens of the city. No input was asked from all of the political experts who toil up and down Washington Street or King who earn nice fees for their state and national advice.

In all seriousness there could be no better selections than the following:

  • Ann M. Dorman, president of Meetings and Events of Distinction. She’s an impressive business leader who knows how to make things happen. Knows all the issues.

  • Janet Barnett, executive director of Senior Services of Alexandria, dynamic professional and proven public servant for many years. Knows all the issues.

  • Craig Shirley, author, political activist.

  • John Porter, former longtime principal of T. C. Williams High School and former assistant school superintendent, who knows all the answers to all the issues.

  • Pat Troy, restaurateur, gadfly, political activist, author and driving force for St. Patrick’s Day.

  • John W. Warner, retired U. S. senator.

  • Michael Lee Pope, journalist, resident of Old Town.

  • Amy Bertsch, historian and expert on life in Alexandria.

  • Elwood Stubblefield, community activist, youth leader.

  • Duke Short, retired senate chief of staff, who loves Alexandria.

  • Debby Palmer-Mills, city native.

Now this list of outstanding people could be usurped only if Judge Kemler appointed herself to the seat. That would keep the others on their toes. But probably can’t happen because of judicial ethics.