In case no one noticed, there’s an election going on! Election Day 2011 is just 12 days away, on November 8, and incumbents and challengers are making the rounds of debate forums and greeting voters one last time. The Republican Presidential debates may get more press and air time, but the decisions local officials make have greater effect on our daily lives than anyone across the river ever imagined.
Ironically, these off off-year elections have a higher number of candidates vying for a larger number of seats than any other election cycle, but the voter turnout always is the lowest of any election. In Fairfax County, there are approximately 56 different iterations of the ballot, depending on precinct configurations. The ballot is long, with selections to be made for State Senate, House of Delegates, Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, magisterial district Supervisors, district and at-large School Board positions, Sheriff, Commonwealth’s Attorney, Soil and Water Conservation Board, and the school bond referendum. On the computer screen in the voting booth, the ballot is three pages long, so be sure to scroll through all the pages to ensure that you are voting for all of your preferred candidates.
Because of redistricting, Mason District will be represented by four delegate districts (down from six) and three Senate districts (still three, but redrawn boundaries). For the House of Delegates seats, District 38 is currently held by Mason District resident L. Kaye Kory, seeking her second term in Richmond. Kaye essentially is unopposed; her Independent Green party opponent has not been seen at any candidate forums to date. District 39 is represented ably by longtime incumbent Vivian Watts; her Independent challenger also has not participated in candidate forums. District 49 will elect Alfonso Lopez on November 8; Lopez won the Democratic primary in August, and no other candidate filed for the seat, which includes precincts on the eastern side of Mason District. District 53 is held by Jim Scott, who also has no opposition.
For the State Senate, three Democratic incumbents are battling to keep the Senate under Democratic control. Majority Leader Richard Saslaw, a Mason District resident and an experienced, knowledgeable leader in Richmond, will represent a larger portion of Mason District in the redistricting map for the 35th Senate district. His Republican challenger is Robert Sarvis. New to Mason District voters is incumbent Dave Marsden, whose redrawn 37th Senate district includes six Mason precincts in the Annandale and Lake Barcroft areas. Dave is knocking on doors all over his new district. He is opposed by Republican newcomer Jason Flanary. Outside the Beltway, energetic Senator Chap Petersen is seeking re-election to Senate district 34. His Republican challenger is Gerarda Culipher.
Absentee in-person voting will continue at the Mason District Governmental Center and other satellite locations through Saturday, November 5. Hours for voting are 2:30 until 7 p.m.,
Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturdays. On Election Day, Tuesday, November 8, regular precinct polling places will be open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be e-mailed at [email protected]