Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

Unsolicited absentee ballot applications rained down by the thousands on Fairfax County voters last week. The application mimicked the Virginia absentee application, but was inaccurate and potentially misleading. The mailer, which contained pre-printed voter information, included a return envelope to send the application to the Registrar in the City of Fairfax, not Fairfax County. If you’ve lived in this area for any length of time, you know that Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax are two separate legal jurisdictions, with separate Registrars, Electoral Boards, and responsibilities.

The mailing was not from any governmental agency, but funded and mailed by the non-profit Center for Voter Information. In an already chaotic presidential election year, the unsolicited mailing is causing a lot of confusion and misinformation among voters, especially those who already have submitted absentee ballot applications. Fairfax City is working with Fairfax County to ensure that any ballot applications received by the city from county residents are forwarded for processing by the county.

If you received an unsolicited ballot application, you simply can tear it up or shred it, and throw it away. Voters can apply on-line to vote absentee by mail, which is the most secure method to apply. By applying on-line, you also can track the status of your application, including when the ballot is mailed to you, and when your completed ballot has been received. You can apply now to vote absentee by mail at fairfaxcounty.gov/elections/absentee.

Absentee ballots will be mailed after Sept. 18, the official start for absentee voting by mail. To ensure that your ballot is delivered by the U.S. Postal Service in time, voters are encouraged to apply now, and return their completed ballot as soon as possible after they receive it. Don’t leave it until the last minute!

In-person absentee voting at satellite locations will begin in October, with dates and hours to be announced. Two locations in Mason District are approved for satellite voting: the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, and the Thomas Jefferson branch of the Fairfax County Public Library, 7415 Arlington Blvd. in Falls Church. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3, and you may vote in person at your regular polling place, from 6 a.m. – 7 p.m. If you are new to the community, or have changed addresses recently, the last day to register to vote or make changes to your current registration is Friday, Oct. 13. This presidential election is crucial to determine the future of this nation. Will we maintain our treasured democracy, or slide into an autocratic and authoritarian dystopia? Every vote counts!

The second meeting of the Mason District Task Force to consider nominations for changes to the Comprehensive Plan was held virtually last week, attended by dozens of residents. In more than four hours of deliberations, the Task Force voted to deny a proposed change to permit a senior care facility on Route 50 adjacent to the Sleepy Hollow neighborhood, and voted to move forward a nomination for a multi-family residence for low income independent senior citizens adjacent to the First Christian Church of Falls Church. The next meeting of the Task Force will be on Wednesday, Aug. 19, at 7 p.m., to consider two nominations for parcels in the vicinity of Leesburg Pike and Row Street near Seven Corners. Meeting links will be posted soon on the county’s website, fairfaxcounty.gov/planning-development/plan-amendments/sspa/south/track-nomination. Scroll down to Task Force Meeting Information and click on Mason District Task Force for the link.