It’s almost over – hundreds of political commercials on the airwaves, “robo” call messages on answering machines, mass mailings from candidates and campaigns, op-ed columns with your morning coffee – but what has been called “the most important presidential election in several decades” won’t be complete without your vote.
Although the absentee vote in Virginia has been huge (Fairfax voters may still vote absentee in person at the Mason District Governmental Center today and tomorrow from 1 until 8 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.), an even larger turnout is expected at your regular polling place on Tuesday, where polls will open at 6 a.m., and remain open until everyone still in line at 7 p.m. gets to vote.
The ballot in Fairfax County is relatively short this year: President; United States Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, and a Park Bond Referendum, so the actual process of voting should be quick. It’s the wait in line that may prove frustrating, so voters are encouraged to bring reading material, needlework, or other quiet pastime just in case. Don’t forget your photo ID.
According to nearly every political poll and pundit, Virginia is a battleground state. Both the Obama and McCain campaigns are targeting Virginia and its 13 electoral votes in the “must win” column if they are to be successful in their quest for the presi-dency. It’s an interesting position for Virginia voters to be in, since the last time a Democratic presidential candidate won the state was Lyndon Johnson in 1964. A flurry of activity in 1996 when Bill Clinton was president was followed by another flurry with John Kerry in 2004 but, when the votes were counted, neither Democratic candidate won in Virginia.
That may change this year. Virginia is turning blue in vote-rich Northern Virginia this year, and other parts of the state are becoming shades bluer. Former Governor Mark Warner has an insurmountable 30-point lead in his quest to succeed Senator John Warner as United States Senator, and the polls are indicating that Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama is likely to eke out a victory in Virginia. Regardless of the outcome, the Virginia election landscape will be evaluated and re-evaluated for months and perhaps years because of the significant shift from politics as usual.
Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden campaign on messages of hope, unity, and change in their quest for election. Their thoughtful approach to governance contrasts sharply with the relentless message of division and destruction from Senator McCain and his curious selection of a running mate in Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who must be the best dressed pit bull in the nation! We’ve had enough division and dissembling during the past eight years. It’s definitely time for a change – to Obama and Biden.
For Congress, Virginia will be well-served by Mark Warner, whose business sense and ability to work across party lines is needed in today’s United States Senate. On the other side of Capitol Hill, the 8th Congressional District’s Jim Moran deserves re-election. His powerful position on the Appropriations Committee pays dividends to all of Northern Virginia. In the 10th District, Democrat Judy Feder gave incumbent Frank Wolf a vigorous challenge in 2006, and can win this year with her expertise on health care policy, an issue that Congress must deal with in the coming term. In the 11th District seat being vacated by Republican Tom Davis, Fairfax County Board Chairman Gerry Connolly has a wide lead over Republican Keith Fimian, but Gerry has an even wider lead in the realm of ideas and action. Gerry’s knowledge of our needs, especially transportation, will serve us well in Congress. Also, vote yes on the Fairfax County Park Bond referendum, which will support acquisition of open space and development of addi-tional recreation facilities for both the Fairfax County Park Authority and the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.