Local Commentary

Editorial: Vote Turnout Key on Tuesday

Among jurisdictions in Virginia, the City of Falls Church has a long and commendable track record for generating the highest voter turnout, as a percentage of registered voters, in the commonwealth. Next Tuesday’s critically important election will be a prime opportunity for that tradition to be extended, and we urge everyone to contribute to making that happen.

High turnouts in Falls Church, Fairfax City and county, Arlington and Alexandria will be essential for the reelection effort of President Obama and the campaign of Democratic U.S. Senator Tim Kaine. The News-Press has endorsed both of those candidates, as we also endorsed the re-election efforts of U.S. Rep. Jim Moran and U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly.

It is hard to fathom that efforts to get out the vote in this small corner of Northern Virginia could be decisive for determining the outcome of the presidential election nationally. But it is absolutely true.

If Virginia goes for Obama, then that could be the Electoral College margin of victory for the overall election. Whether or not Virginia goes for Obama will depend entirely on the voter turnout in our area.

Our region has been instrumental in this way before. In 2006, the razor thin margin of victory for U.S. Senator Jim Webb statewide was obtained entirely in our area, and it wound up giving the Democrats a critical majority in the Senate.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor,” said Desmond Tutu. Indeed, no one can remain neutral or indifferent on Election Day next Tuesday without tacitly accepting personal responsibility for whatever ills may subsequently beset the nation, no matter which way one votes.

Ironically, while Northern Virginia looms ultimately consequential for the outcome of Tuesday’s presidential and U.S. Senate elections, there are few places in the U.S. where the benefits of the Obama administration’s economic recovery efforts have been more evident. The so-called “stimulus” policy to reverse the effects of the worst recession since the Great Depression was applied to “shovel ready” projects in our region, accelerating the construction of the “rail to Dulles” Metro line in ways that are very visible and apparent to everybody.

Thus, on top of its expanded support for the kinds of advanced research and technology that our region has become famous for, we’re now and will even more in the future enjoy the benefits of a major infrastructure construction effort that will bring us the completion of this major expansion of the Metro line a good 10 years before originally projected.

The economic development and resulting new jobs in Tysons and vicinity will make our region among the most prosperous in the U.S., and its a direct result of the economic policies of the Obama administration. Just as Ohio and Michigan owe their economic rebound to Obama’s support for an auto industry in grave distress, so does Northern Virginia.