Every year is election year in Virginia; mechanics and details of voting require attention to detail.
While the Presidential election will take top billing, every seat in the U.S. Congress is on the ballot, with one hotly contested race in Northern Virginia.
In Fairfax County, voters will decide whether to enact a four percent meals tax, a topic voters will hear a lot more about in coming weeks.
The Town of Herndon will have its first November election, moving from May in past elections, with the office of Mayor and six Town Council seats on the ballot.
Fairfax County voters will decide on three bond questions, including $120 million in transportation bonds for Metro; $107 million in bonds for parks; and $85 million for building and renovating senior and community centers, and homeless shelters. More at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/bond/
Absentee Voting in Person in Fairfax County
Voting begins Sept. 23, and with record turnout possible, voting early if you qualify is a good choice.
There are 19 valid reasons to vote absentee in Virginia, including working and commuting to and from home for 11 or more hours between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Election Day. Check the Virginia Department of Elections list to see if you are eligible. http://elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/index.html
There are two ways to vote absentee, in-person and by mail. To do either, you should first check your voter registration status to make sure it is up-to-date. Then you will need to apply for an absentee ballot. Note: If you vote absentee in-person you will fill out the application when you arrive at the in-person absentee location (see locations below). Voting absentee by mail? Read below for the process of applying for your mail-in ballot.
You can now apply for an absentee ballot online with the state's new Citizen Portal. You will need your Social Security Number and information on your Virginia Driver's License to complete the application. Information is also provided on how to apply if you do not have a driver's license.
Absentee Voting Begins Sept. 23
Fairfax County Government Center, Conference Room 2/3,
12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, 22035
Sept. 23 to Oct. 14, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Thursday: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Closed, Monday, Oct. 10, Columbus Day.
Oct. 17 to Nov. 4, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday Schedule: Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and November 5, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 5 is the last day to absentee vote in-person.
Absentee Voting at Satellite Locations
Saturday Schedule: Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 and Nov. 5, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Weekday Schedule: Oct. 17 to Nov. 4, Monday - Friday, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Satellite Voting Locations:
Providence Community Center - 3001 Vaden Dr., Fairfax, 22031
Franconia Governmental Center - 6121 Franconia Rd., Alexandria, 22310
McLean Governmental Center - 1437 Balls Hill Rd., Community Room, McLean, 22101
North County Governmental Center, 1801 Cameron Glen Dr., Community Rooms, Reston, 20190
West Springfield Governmental Center - 6140 Rolling Rd., Springfield, 22152
Mason Governmental Center - 6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale, 22003
Mount Vernon Governmental Center - 2511 Parkers Lane, Alexandria, 22306
*Sully Governmental Center - 4900 Stonecroft Blvd., Chantilly, 20151
- Lorton Library - 9520 Richmond Hwy., Lorton, 22079 SATURDAYS ONLY (Closed Weekdays)
Ballot Question, Meals Tax
Fairfax County voters will vote yes or no on establishing a 4 percent meals tax. The Connection will publish stories and letters in coming weeks on both sides of this issue.
State law authorizes counties, cities, and towns to levy a tax on prepared food and beverages, commonly called a “meals tax,” subject to certain restrictions. Most counties, including Fairfax County, may levy a meals tax only if the voters approve the tax by referendum.
The question presented in this referendum asks Fairfax County voters whether the Board of Supervisors should be authorized to levy a meals tax, at a rate not to exceed four percent of the amount charged for the taxable food and beverages.
70 percent of the net revenues would be dedicated to Fairfax County Public Schools; 30 percent of the net revenues would be dedicated to County services, capital improvements and property tax relief.
The question also states that the Board of Supervisors’ reason for seeking authority to impose a meals tax is to reduce the county’s dependence on real estate taxes. Currently, nearly 65 percent of Fairfax County’s General Fund budget relies upon real estate taxes. State law limits what the county can tax and how it may otherwise raise revenue. Almost 90 percent of Fairfax County non-property tax revenues are capped, limited, or controlled by the state. A meals tax would give the County a new source of revenue, which would help diversify the County’s revenue base. At the maximum four percent tax rate, a meals tax would generate an estimated $99 million per year, with a significant percentage paid by non-county residents.
A number of area jurisdictions already impose a meals tax, including Arlington County, the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, and Fairfax, and the towns of Herndon and Vienna.
Four Bond Questions
TRANSPORTATION BONDS, Yes or No
Shall the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County, Virginia, contract a debt, borrow money and issue bonds, in addition to bonds previously authorized for transportation improvements and facilities, in the maximum aggregate principal amount of $120 million to finance Fairfax County's share, under the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Compact, of the cost of constructing, reconstructing, improving and acquiring transportation improvements and facilities, including capital costs of land, transit facilities, rolling stock and equipment in the Washington metropolitan area, and to finance improvements to primary and secondary State highways and ancillary related improvements and facilities?
PARKS AND PARK FACILITIES BONDS, Yes or No
Shall the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County, Virginia, contract a debt, borrow money and issue bonds, in addition to bonds previously authorized for parks and park facilities, in the maximum aggregate principal amount of $107,000,000: (i) $94,700,000 principal amount to finance the Fairfax County Park Authority's cost to acquire, construct, develop and equip additional parks and park facilities, to preserve open-space land, and to develop and improve existing parks and park facilities; and (ii) $12,300,000 principal amount for Fairfax County's contribution to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority to acquire, construct, develop and equip parks and park facilities?
HUMAN SERVICES/COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BONDS, Yes or No
Shall the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County, Virginia, contract a debt, borrow money and issue bonds in the maximum aggregate principal amount of $85,000,000 to provide funds to finance the cost of human services facilities and community development facilities, including the construction and reconstruction of community centers and shelters and the acquisition of land and equipment or interests therein?
Replace the Sully Senior Center and a build new Lorton Community Center ($37 million)
Renovate, expand or replace four emergency shelters for people who are homeless: Patrick Henry, Embry Rucker, Eleanor Kennedy, and Bailey’s ($48 million)
Virginia Voter ID
Virginia has a stringent voter identification requirement, plan to bring photo identification with you to vote, whether that is absentee or on Election Day.
Among accepted ID: valid Virginia Driver’s License or Identification Card; valid Virginia DMV issued Veteran’s ID card; valid U.S. Passport; other government-issued photo identification cards issued by the U.S. Government, the Commonwealth of Virginia, or a political subdivision of the Commonwealth; valid college or university student photo identification card from an institution of higher education located in Virginia; valid student ID issued by a public school or private school in Virginia displaying a photo; employee identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by an employer of the voter in the ordinary course of the employer’s business.
Any registered voter who does not have one of the required forms of identification can apply for a free Virginia Voter Photo Identification from any general registrar’s office in the Commonwealth. Voters applying for the Virginia Voter Photo ID complete the Virginia Voter Photo Identification Card Application, have their picture taken, and sign the digital signature pad. Once the application is processed, the card will be mailed directly to the voter.
A voter who does not bring an acceptable photo ID to the polls will be offered a provisional ballot.
Provisional Ballot Process for Voters Who Arrive Without Identification
If you arrive at your polling place on Election Day without an acceptable form of photo identification, don’t panic or give up. You will be given the opportunity to vote a provisional ballot. After completing the provisional ballot, the individual voting will be given written instructions from the election officials on how to submit a copy of his/her identification so that his/her vote can be counted.
A voter will have until noon on the Friday following the election to deliver a copy of the identification to the local electoral board or to appear in person to apply for a Virginia Voter Photo ID Card. Voters may submit a copy of their ID via fax, email, in-person submission, or through USPS or commercial delivery service. Please note that the copy of the ID must be delivered to the electoral board by noon on Friday, or the provisional ballot cannot be counted.
Also by noon on Friday following the election, the voter may appear in-person in the office of the general registrar, in the locality in which the provisional ballot was cast, and apply for a Virginia Voter Photo ID Card. At the completion of the application process, the voter may request a Temporary Identification Document. This document may be provided to the electoral board to suffice the identification requirement.
Two proposed Virginia Constitutional Amendments will also be on the ballot:
Ballot Question 1: Should Article I of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to prohibit any agreement or combination between an employer and a labor union or labor organization whereby (i) nonmembers of the union or organization are denied the right to work for the employer, (ii) membership to the union or organization is made a condition of employment or continuation of employment by such employer, or (iii) the union or organization acquires an employment monopoly in any such enterprise?
The proposed amendment places the provisions of Virginia’s right to work law into the Constitution of Virginia. While Virginia law may be amended by any future General Assembly, a constitutional prohibition can only be changed by a future constitutional amendment approved by the voters.
Ballot Question 2: Shall the Constitution of Virginia be amended to allow the General Assembly to provide an option to the localities to exempt from taxation the real property of the surviving spouse of any law-enforcement officer, firefighter, search and rescue personnel, or emergency medical services personnel who was killed in the line of duty, where the surviving spouse occupies the real property as his or her principal place of residence and has not remarried?
On Election Day Polls are open from 6 a.m. - 7 p.m.
To determine whether you are eligible and registered to vote in this election, visit the Virginia Department of Elections website at http://elections.virginia.gov/ or call Fairfax Elections office at 703-222-0776.
Sept. 23: In-Person Absentee Voting Begins http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/absentee.htm
Oct. 17: Voter Registration Deadline - In-Person: 5 p.m., Online www.vote.virginia.gov 11:59 p.m.
Nov. 1: Last Day to Apply for an Absentee Ballot by Mail, Fax, Email or Online: 5 p.m.
Nov. 5: Final Day for In-Person Absentee Voting
Nov. 8: Absentee Ballot Return Deadline: 7 p.m.
For more information on voting in Fairfax County:
Voter Registration: 703-222-0776, TTY 711
Absentee Fax: 703-324-3725
Election Officer Info: 703-324-4735, TTY 711
ON THE BALLOT in Fairfax County:
President and Vice President
U.S. House of Representatives, 8th, 10th, or 11th District
Meal Tax Referendum
Three Proposed County Bond Questions
Two Proposed Constitutional Amendments