In addition to the presidential candidates, the ballot includes candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, a Fairfax County referendum on a meals tax, two constitutional questions, and three bond issues.
While Election Day is Nov. 8, absentee in-person voting is well under way at the Fairfax County Government Center and at satellite locations on Saturdays. Beginning Oct. 17, you can vote at the Mason Government Center on weekdays, 2-8 p.m., as well as Saturdays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. There are 19 valid reasons to vote absentee. Be sure to bring a photo ID.
The deadline for voter registration is Oct. 17. Check your registration status and verify your absentee vote here.
In the 11th congressional district, which covers most of the Annandale/Mason District area, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D), the incumbent, is unopposed.
The 8th district, which covers part of the Alexandria and Falls Church areas in Mason District, is considered a safe seat for Democrats. The incumbent, Don Beyer (D), faces two challengers: Charles Hernick, a Republican, and Julio Gracia, an independent.
Michael Webb is also running for Congress in the 8th district but is not on the ballot. The self-proclaimed right-wing independent sends at least one bizarre press release to people on his email list every day with eye-catching titles. Webb’s Oct. 8 release, blasting Hernick for gaining the endorsement of the Log Cabin Republicans, is titled: “Webb Blasts Angelo and Log Cabin Whorehouse: ‘For $250 They Will Suck Hernick’s Cocker Spaniel!”
Back to what’s actually on the ballot: Voters will be asked to vote yes or no on whether the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors should be authorized to levy a tax of up to 4 percent on prepared food and beverages.
The meals tax, aimed at reducing dependence on real estate taxes, is needed to maintain a high quality school system, proponents charge. If implemented, 70 percent of the net revenues would be dedicated to Fairfax County Public Schools, the referendum states, while the rest would support county services, capital improvements and property tax relief.
One of the constitutional amendments on the ballot calls for a yes or no vote on whether to incorporate Virginia’s right-to-work statute into the Virginia Constitution. The right-to-work law, on the books since 1947, makes it illegal for workplaces to require employees to be union members.
If this provision is added to the constitution, it could only be changed by a future constitutional amendment approved by voters. Statutes can be revised by the General Assembly.
The other constitutional amendment on the ballot would authorize the General Assembly to enact a property tax exemption for the surviving spouse of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or first responder killed in the line of duty. The tax exemption would cease if the surviving spouse remarries.
This amendment builds upon an existing constitutional amendment that grants a similar tax exemption to the spouse of a member of the U.S. armed forced killed in action or a military veteran with a 100 percent service-connected permanent and total disability.
One of the three Fairfax County bond referendums on the ballot would provide $85 million for human services and community development, including $48 million to renovate, expand, or replace four of the county’s homeless shelters. One of projects is the relocation of the Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter from Moncure Avenue to a new building on Seminary Road.
The rest of the funds from that bond would be used to replace the Sully Senior Center and build a new community center in Lorton.
The $107 million parks bond would fund capital projects to support natural and cultural resources; acquire land to serve park-deficient areas and protect resources; renovate and upgrade aging community park facilities, such as playgrounds, courts, infrastructure, and trails; and develop a new baseball complex to serve the entire county.
Projects in Mason District include the renovation of Hidden Oaks Nature Center, which was built in 1969, and the development of a new park, the seven-acre Boyd and Charlotte Hogge Park, on Glen Carlyn Road in Bailey’s Crossroads.
The county would use $12.3 million from the park bond funds to pay its contribution to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
The $120 million transportation bond would provide funding for the next four years for Fairfax County’s share of Metro’s capital improvement program. That includes safety and system maintenance projects, new rail cars and power upgrades for running eight-car trains, additional buses for operating “priority corridor networks,” and rail station improvements to increase the capacity of the rail system infrastructure.