Around F.C., News

Voting Begins Friday for Critical Midterm Election

In what’s considered a highly consequential election for the future of the nation, early voting begins this Friday, Sept. 23, leading up to the Nov. 8 general election day, for the congressional midterms. In the greater Falls Church area, candidates for the 8th, 10th and 11th Congressional Districts will be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

For citizens of Falls Church, only the 8th District congressional race will appear on the ballot with Incumbent Democrat Don Beyer seeking a fifth two-year term challenged by Republican Karina Lipsman and independent Teddy Fikre.

First elected in 2014, Beyer, now chair of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, is seeking a fifth term. Neither Lipsman nor Fikre have served in public office before. Beyer has been endorsed by the Falls Church News-Press.

In the 10th District, Democratic incumbent Jennifer Wexton is running for a second term against Republican Hung Cao. In the 11th District just west of Falls Church, Incumbent Democrat Gerry Connelly is seeking election to an 8th term. He is opposed by Republican Jim Myles.

Considered the most contentious Congressional races in Virginia this fall are in the 10th (Wexton versus Cao), in the 7th (Incumbent Democrat Abigail Spanberger versus Republican Yesli Vega) south of here, and the Tidewater area’s 2nd District (Incumbent Elaine Luria versus Jennifer Kiggins) that may prove decisive for overall control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Voters are advised that as a result of redistricting, which is a legally required process to adjust election districts every 10 years, congressional district boundaries have changed. Before going to vote, citizens are advised to double check district boundaries by looking up voter information on the Virginia Department of Elections online portal.

Also, they should double check the hours that early voting sites are open because they may vary by location.

In the case of the City of Falls Church, in person voting begins this Friday in the Office of the Registrar at City Hall at 8 a.m.. and runs Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Nov. 4, the Friday before the Tuesday, Nov. 8 election day when three voting locations will be open in the Little City.

The registrar’s office will be open for early voting on Saturday, Nov. 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, and the weekend before, Oct. 29-30, from 9 to 5 on Saturday and 12 to 3 on Sunday. The lone date when that option will be available after 5 p.m. will be Wednesday, Nov. 2, when the office will remain open until 7 p.m.

Under new state rules, citizens do not have to offer any explanation for why they are choosing to vote early.

Falls Church Registrar David Bjerke, who has written a detailed article on all the options that will appear in next week’s News-Press, told the News-Press yesterday that next Monday mail-in ballots will be sent to fully eight percent of City registered voters who have requested them.

In addition to voting, registering to vote will also go on up to Oct. 17, with anyone who turns 18 by election day Nov. 8 being eligible to vote in this election. On Oct. 18, same day registration will commence with citizens able to register and vote at the same time, though their votes will be “provisional” until counted after Nov. 8 once confirmation of their registration is made.

Meanwhile, concerted efforts by activists are being made to recruit citizens to help get out the vote in the critical 10th, 7th and 2nd congressional districts.

Exemplary has been the effort of members at the Washington, D.C. based First Congregational Church, who are engaged in a personalized postcard mailing effort targeting voters in Prince William County, Virginia. Each church volunteer is given a printout of about 20 voter names and addresses and is urged to hand address, personalize and send postcards designed by the Reclaim Our Vote organization that includes a colorful graphic saying “Vote Your Power.”

The postcards include a message that says “Every vote counts in the November 8 election. Key issues in Virginia are voting rights, health care, maternal wellness, gun violence, jobs and housing. Bring ID and tell five friends!” A sticker to be affixed to the post card provides the phone number and email address of the Prince William registrar, and a number to call or email address for free rides to the polls on election day.