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by Katie Pyzyk | January 24, 2013 at 9:45 am | 693 views | 24 Comments

Snowy branches

Metro Closing Several Pentagon Escalators — Metro will begin its third major escalator replacement at the Pentagon station on February 4. Three of the six “southside escalators” at the station entrance will be shut down for replacement with new, more reliable units. Customers will still be able to use the three other escalators on the north side. [WMATA]

Proposal to Extend Voting Hours Fails — The proposal by state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) to extend voting times in Virginia has failed in committee. The measure would have pushed poll closing time from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. [Sun Gazette]

Claremont Elementary School Earns Health Award — The Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) and Sodexo presented Claremont Elementary School with the Healthy Schools Award for being one of five schools having the most participants in the MCM-organized Healthy Kids Fun Run in October. The Claremont P.E. department received $1,000 and each student received a healthy snack pack from Sodexo. [Arlington Public Schools]

Emergency Winter Shelter Open — Because of the extreme cold, the county’s Emergency Winter Shelter, which is usually only open at night, will be open all day today. If you see someone in Arlington needing shelter from the cold, call 703-228-7395.

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  • CourthouseChris

    Of course the proposal to extend voting hours failed – later hours means more of the working class would be able to vote – and their blood just isn’t red enough for this state Senate. But absentee voting (i.e. polls never close) for all seniors!

    • SomeGuy

      Or maybe– just maybe– the problem isn’t the hours that the polls are open, but rather that there’s a lack of voting machines at the polling places. I.e., maybe extending hours is just a feel-good measure that doesn’t solve the real problem.

    • Wayne Kubicki

      Oh, please! Discrimating against “working class” people?

      The polls are open for 13 hours. Anyone whose job is outside of Arlington is eligible to vote absentee. The registrar even set up remote absentee in person voting locations last year – it took me all of 45 minutes to vote at one of those..

      The lines in Arlington are only an issue in Presidential years. More machines would shorten the wait.

      The 13 hour voting window is not the problem here.

      • hard worker

        Yes, discriminates against working class people.

        We’re all glad you had plenty of time to vote and didn’t hit a long line, Wayne, but for some people, being late for work because they are stuck in line for hours to vote, or just taking off early to go back later, is not an option.

        Thanks for showing us what it looks like from your ivory tower.

        • David M

          So the 7pm closing time that HAS been in effect is discriminatory?! As if democrats don’t do well in the polls around here. puh-leeze.

          • CourthouseChris

            You do realize there is more to Virginia than Arlington right? Just because the Arlington democrats tend to be rich enough to enjoy the luxury of waiting in a multi-hour line to vote doesn’t mean that the rest of the state’s labor force has that option.

  • SteamboatWillie

    Adam Ebbin has some nerve trying to make voting easier. 60 whole minutes? Outrageous.

  • Arlingtoner

    If they won’t extend the hours, they MUST add more voting machines to the polling locations. Having just 3 or 4 is completely unacceptable. That needs to be done for 2016.

    • BBMS

      I think that is the more substantive adjustment they could make. Extending the poll hours puts a bigger burden on the volunteers they depend on to run the polls. Lots of them are retirees who can commit their entire day to helping with the election. It’s a lot to ask to make them stay longer, especially when I believe they are required to stay on site the entire day (be there before polls open and remain afterwards to close out the paperwork)

  • SteamboatWillie

    or allowing voting by mail, as is the case in Oregon, to cite one example. Voter participation there is sky high, but who wants that, right?

    • Josh S

      This. Pretty much solves all your problems.

  • DCBuff

    Voting in Virginia shouldn’t be addressed in piecemeal fashion (e.g., a bil to extend voting hours, another bill for seniors), but in a comprehensive way that enfranchises all prospective voters. It is a failure of the legislature that they are doing it this way.

    • SteamboatWillie

      I think it’s fairly obvious that it is instead a “success” of the legislature that they are doing it this way – and by that I mean it is part of a broader, national strategy by one particular party to block the expansion of voter access. This isn’t just a Virginia effort.

      • DCBuff

        No argument with your point. The “failure” may be placed squarely on those who seek to use their positions to impede the exercise of the voting rights of citizens, in Virginia or any other state.

  • Sandra

    VA’s polls open at 6:00 AM and close at 7:00 PM. I don’t think Mr. Ebben’s bill is needed as I feel the 13 hours should be adequate. In my precent, there were NO lines after 5:00 PM in Nov. 2012 and most voters got in and out in 10 minutes. If there are long lines in some precincts, some precincts could be divided in two to make it easier on voters in overcrowded precincts. Those judges are there LONG hours to begin with. If they had to do 14 hours, then count votes, I feel that may lead to mistakes in counting. Why single out only Mr. Ebben’s bill? Please tell us about other bills on this issue so we can decide for ourselves which one we feel might be good to support. I don’t feel Mr. Ebben’s bill would be in our best interests. I am against voting by mail. I think voters should have to show up in person, if they are not using the absentee process already in place.

    • SteamboatWillie

      I never see crime on my street. Ergo, there is no crime in Arlington County.

      Why should voters “have to” show up in person? Why limit the ability to expand voter participation to as close to 100% as possible?

    • drax

      Why are you against voting by mail, Sandra? Several states allow it. Oregon has been voting ONLY by mail for a decade. What’s the difference between voting by mail and absentee voting? It’s almost identical.

    • bubba

      Clearly this isn’t really an Arlington issue. We all choose to live here to be closer to work. But we all haev coworkers who commute from the outer burbs of Loudon and Mannassas etc. it IS aproblem for those folk to make it by 7PM

  • John Fontain

    The question we should be asking is this: If we were designing voting rules now for the first time ever, how would we design them in this day and age?

    Would we require a person to be physically present at a location and to manually cast their vote? Or would we also allow for mail or electronic voting (internet) voting?

    Would we limit the physical voting to a single day? Or would we allow physical polls to be open for multiple days?

    Thinking of the issue this way will tell us what changes we should be making while avoiding the error of “anchoring” to our old ways.

    • drax

      Terrific post, John. And that thinking should apply to lots of other things too. We do so many things certain ways just because we always have, even if they make no sense.

    • Arlingtoner

      Great point, John.

      I think on presidental years, voting day should actually be a federal holiday.

      • novasteve

        we should also get “free” cabrides to the voting booth!

        • DCBuff

          With complimentary Froyo!

      • DCBuff

        “I think on presidental years, voting day should actually be a federal holiday.” I was going to say “no” to this, but as long as APS is going to close schools and thus requiring parents to take leave, sure.

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