Chantilly At Greenbriar East Elementary, as at many polling places throughout the country, voters flocked to the polls in droves Tuesday to vote on national, state and local issues. They cast their votes for President of the United States and, in Fairfax County, the controversial meals-tax proposal.
Pam Gannon, passing out sample Democratic Party ballots to people outside the school, said that by 10 a.m., some 929 people had already voted there. “I think it’s a higher turnout than usual,” she said. “And from what we’ve heard from around the different polling places, it’s been a big turnout everywhere.”
Mary Ann Welton, chief elections officer for the Greenbriar East Precinct, concurred. “All day long, there’s been a steady stream of voters — not sporadic, like in a primary,” she said. At almost 11 a.m., she said, 1,143 people had voted there — and that number didn’t include the absentee votes cast earlier.
Voters there filled out paper ballots that were then placed into scanners for double tracking. Mainly, said Welton, “I’ve explained to people to fill in the entire circle and not just make check marks.”
Greenbriar resident Eric Hanson said he never misses an opportunity to vote. For President, he said, “I hope the heck we get the right person in there — Trump. He’s a man that’s not going to make this country bend to the wishes of foreign countries.”
Hanson also voted “no” on the meals tax. “I don’t want to pay 4-percent more on a good meal,” he said. “That would make me tip the server less, or I wouldn’t go out. We’ve got to stop taxing, or we’re going to drive people out of this country.”
Greenbriar’s Shashi Sahgal isn’t affiliated with any political party so, she said, she voted for the presidential candidate she believes has better attributes and would do the best job. “So I voted for Hillary,” she said. “I just felt that, for such a high post, to have a person with such a bad mouth and foul thinking and who’s divisive and closed-minded — all negative — would be wrong.”
First of all, she continued — explaining what she’d like to say to Trump — “Show your taxes. And what happened to your conscience when you and your daughter were buying stuff for your factories from China? What happened to your moral values? We are paying for you to live in America, if you don’t pay taxes. So how can you say you’re going to stand up for anyone else?”
Sahgal said both presidential candidates have vices, but “Trump’s is moral and Hillary’s is judgmental — which can be corrected. A 70-year-old man isn’t going to change his morals.”
Regarding the meals tax, she, too, voted “no” because “a lot of senior people depend on ready-cooked meals from the outside — pizzas or carry out — and their fixed incomes don’t go up. Why impose this on them?”
Mike Brensy agreed with her on the meals tax, voting “no” because, he said, “Meals out are expensive enough. When I go on a date, food and drinks are around $100, and I don’t want to pay 4 percent more.”
However, he wants Donald Trump to be president: “I think he’ll hire the right staff to make the right decisions and make our country great again, throughout his presidency. And I believe he’ll take advice from military leaders and others.”
As for the county’s proposed tax break for survivors of fallen officers, he voted “yes,” saying such spouses “shouldn’t be taxed; that’s ridiculous.”
Jessica Mason, though, was for Hillary Clinton, all the way. “I like her stands on the issues, especially on immigration policies and women’s rights,” she said. “I think she’s got a lot of experience and he’s a loose cannon. And I want her to approve the Supreme Court justices, including Merrick Garland.”
Mason also voted “yes” on the meals tax. “Going out is a luxury, so I don’t mind them asking for a little bit more for the schools and to improve the area,” she said. “And I voted for the surviving-spouse tax break — that’s the least we can do.”