By a unanimous vote tonight, the Falls Church City Council sailed to a decision reducing the number of voting precincts in the City from five to three for the first time in the City’s history. While Mayor Nader Baroukh and Vice Mayor David Snyder both commented that they were either skeptical or opposed to the move when the proposal was first presented by the City’s Electoral Board, they both said they’d been persuaded by the merits of the case.
Two traditional precincts will be eliminated, those at the Scout House on S. Spring St. and at the American Legion Hall in N. Oak. It will mean that polling places will in the future be only at the Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, the Oakwood Apartments and the Community Center.
The Council determined to implement the switch as soon as possible, with the first potentially-impacted election being the Virginia presidential primary in early March 2012. Whether the change will be in place for that election will depend only on whether or not the U.S Department of Justice approves the move, considered to be only a routine matter.
The chance will be in place for the Falls Church City Council and School Board elections in May 2012, the state primary elections in June 2012, and the presidential general election in November 2012, and henceforth.
Concerns for diminished parking and potential confusion as new construction is expected to begin at the Thomas Jefferson School and for adequate public education about the change were discussed by the Council, with assurances that adequate provisions will be made in both cases.
Increased efficiencies, lower costs and better use of volunteer services were all cited as reasons for proposing the change in the first place.