On the bal­lot Elec­tion Day, Nov. 7

Rappahannock News - - FRONT PAGE - By Roger Pianta­dosi Patty Hardee and Rap­pa­han­nock News staff

Rap­pa­han­nock County vot­ers will be cast­ing their bal­lots Nov. 7 — for gov­er­nor, lieu­tenant gov­er­nor, at­tor­ney gen­eral, 18th District House of Delegates rep­re­sen­ta­tive and two seats apiece on the county su­per­vi­sors and school board — on new vot­ing ma­chines.

The ma­chines, in keep­ing with the Vir­ginia Board of Elec­tions’ vote early last month to de­cer­tify the state’s touch­screen vot­ing ma­chines, are not con­nected to the In­ter­net, ac­cept pa­per bal­lots only and, un­like the county’s pre­vi­ous ma­chines, are com­pli­ant with Amer­i­cans with Dis­abil­i­ties Act reg­u­la­tions.

Rap­pa­han­nock County Direc­tor of Elec­tions Kim McKier­nan, see­ing the hand­writ­ing on the wall, ear­lier this year asked the board of su­per­vi­sors to bud­get funds for new ma­chines. Eight were de­liv­ered last month, and one is al­ready op­er­a­tional at McKier­nan’s of­fice for in-per­son ab­sen­tee vot­ing.

Though the vot­ing ma­chines may be un­fa­mil­iar on Nov. 7, at least one

of Rap­pa­han­nock’s two su­per­vi­sor con­tests is likely to re­turn a fa­mil­iar face to the county’s gov­ern­ing body — that of Chris Par­rish, who is run­ning un­op­posed in the Stonewall-Hawthorne district. (In the school board “races,” both can­di­dates are also un­op­posed: Larry Grove, first elected to the board in 2013 — when all four seats on the school and su­per­vi­sor boards were un­con­tested — and Rachel Bynum, a Sper­ryville farmer and par­ent of two RCES stu­dents, who would fill the Pied­mont district seat of vice chair Aline John­son, who de­cided this sum­mer that her 18th year on the board would be her fi­nal year.)

In the Pied­mont district su­per­vi­sor race, Sper­ryville res­i­dent Chris­tine Smith is vy­ing for the seat held by Mike Biniek, who, like Par­rish, is seek­ing a third fouryear term on the board.

In the 18th District, which en­com­passes all of Rap­pa­han­nock and parts of Fauquier and Culpeper coun­ties, there are three can­di­dates for the House of Delegates seat: in­cum­bent Repub­li­can Michael We­bert, a Fauquier County farmer seek­ing a third term in Rich­mond, is chal­lenged by Demo­cratic can­di­date Tris­tan Shields of Rix­eyville, a me­dia en­trepreneur whose act­ing and singing ca­reer led him to be a con­tes­tant on NBC’s “The Voice” a few years back, and Green Party hope­ful Wil­ton King, a vet­eran and re­tired fed­eral air mar­shall who lives in Beale­ton.

Can­di­dates for Vir­ginia gov­er­nor are Demo­crat Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam, former Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee chair Edward W. “Ed” Gille­spie and Lib­er­tar­ian Party nom­i­nee Cliff Hyra, a patent at­tor­ney and Fair­fax County na­tive.

For lieu­tenant gov­er­nor, Demo­crat Justin E. Fair­fax, a former fed­eral prose­cu­tor in Vir­ginia’s East­ern District, faces Repub­li­can State Sen. Jill H. Vo­gel.

In­cum­bent Atty. Gen. Mark R. Her­ring, who be­came the first Demo­crat to hold that post since 1989 when he won elec­tion in 2013, is seek­ing to keep it, and is op­posed by Repub­li­can John D. Adams, a former fed­eral prose­cu­tor and Ch­ester­field County na­tive.

ELEC­TION DATES TO RE­MEM­BER

The dead­line to reg­is­ter for the Nov. 7 elec­tion is Oct. 16. If you wish to re­quest a bal­lot by mail, you have un­til Oct. 31.

Elec­tions direc­tor McKier­nan also wants you to know that the county reg­is­trar of vot­ers of­fice, nor­mally open 8 to 4 week­days next to the court­house on Gay Street in Wash­ing­ton, will also be open 8 to 4 on the two Satur­days pre­ced­ing Elec­tion Day, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4. Voter reg­is­tra­tion and bal­lot re­quests — and in-per­son ab­sen­tee vot­ing, on one of the new vot­ing ma­chines al­ready set up at the of­fice — can be achieved here. Call 540-675-5380 for more in­for­ma­tion.

WRITE-INS, ANY­ONE?

In Rap­pa­han­nock County’s three lo­cal un­con­tested “con­tests,” there are, as of this week, no known writein cam­paigns un­der­way (al­though it should be men­tioned that an un­known — se­cret, ac­tu­ally — write-in cam­paign did win a seat on the Wash­ing­ton Town Coun­cil about two decades ago).

McKier­nan said write-in votes in re­cent years have mostly won a few raised eye­brows and smiles among elec­tion of­fi­cials and vote coun­ters. For ex­am­ple, in the 2015 un­con­tested elec­tion of Com­mon­wealth’s At­tor­ney Art Goff, who won the seat with 2,277 votes, among the 105 “valid write-ins” counted and dou­ble-checked by McKier­nan and crew were 73 votes for Wash­ing­ton at­tor­ney David Kon­ick; 10 for Goff’s pre­de­ces­sor, Peter Luke; and three votes for lo­cal at­tor­ney Melissa Cupp (who surely got over the dis­ap­point­ment two year later when she was ap­pointed a judge in Ju­ve­nile and Do­mes­tic Re­la­tions Court).

Among the 24 “in­valid write-ins” — a sure sign of a voter’s dis­af­fec­tion — were bal­lots cast for “Blank” (3), “N/A” (2), “Miss­ing” (2)” and, tied at one vote apiece: “Perry Ma­son,” “Mickey Mouse,” “Any­body Else,” “No Thanks” and “Some­one Bet­ter.”

BY PATTY HARDEE

The county’s new vot­ing ma­chines, which look a bit like mil­i­tary-grade re­cy­cling con­tain­ers when se­curely closed for stor­age, are ADA com­pli­ant.

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