This year, local Democrats can cast a ballot electronically from home for the upcoming Arlington County Democratic Committee School Board endorsement caucus.
From Monday, May 17 through Sunday, May 23, registered voters will be able to vote for one of two Democratic school board candidates securely from their computers, tablets or smartphones. Arlington Dems will provide assistance over the phone and two days of in-person voting help as well.
Registered voters will decide who Arlington Dems endorse in the Nov. 2 general election. Candidates are vying for the seat currently held by School Board Chair Monique O’Grady, who announced in January she will not seek re-election. Attorney Miranda Turner, and Mary Kadera, vice president of the Arlington County Council of PTAs, will be on the Arlington Dems’ caucus ballot.
According to local Democratic leadership, online voting is one way the organization looks to mitigate health risks during the pandemic.
“We’re excited to now be able to offer a secure and scalable Internet-based ballot delivery option that allows voters to eliminate or greatly reduce their exposure to COVID-19 as the nationwide vaccination effort continues,” said Alex Zins, Arlington Democrats School Board Caucus Director. “We strongly encourage all voters who can to take advantage of this electronic voting option to do so.”
The voting platform will be open 24/7 and the local party is encouraging Democrats with less reliable or no internet access to make use of the county’s online resources. It will provide in-person assistance to those who need help or do not have internet access.
This expansion is funded by a $59,000 grant from the nonprofit National Cybersecurity Center, which raises cyber awareness in the public and private sectors. Arlington Dems will be using Democracy Live, which leadership described as the largest provider of mobile and cloud-based voting technologies in the U.S.
Arlington will be the second jurisdiction in the D.C. area to partner with Democracy Live, which facilitated elections in 21 states last November.
“With this innovation, Arlington Dems continues to lead our community through the pandemic,” Arlington Democrats Chair Jill Caiazzo said. “By bringing electronic voting to the county, with a focus on digital equity, we will offer even more Arlingtonians easy, secure access to one of the most fundamental rights Americans exercise, while also reducing the risk of COVID-19 infections that the country continues to battle.”
Should Arlington Dems receive a grant again, the organization would “definitely” consider using such a platform in the future, she added.
Local party leadership emphasized the security of the system. Amazon Web Services hosts Democracy Live’s platform in the same cloud environment approved by the Dept. of Defense, Dept. Homeland Security and the FBI.
“The Democracy Live platform has never been compromised by hackers,” Arlington Dems said, adding that the software also produces PDF copies of ballots to leave a paper trail.
The platform could help reach underrepresented communities, Zins said. Ballots will be available in multiple languages and Democracy Live’s platform complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
This time last year, when Arlington Dems held a caucus for two open School Board seats during stay-at-home orders, the group organized the first-of-its-kind mail-in endorsement caucus, which brought in around 5,700 ballots.
More details will be available online on the Arlington Democrats School Board caucus website as additional logistics are confirmed. Party leaders say they will conduct social media and outreach campaigns to spread the word about the new system.
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Arlington and its neighbors have become more segregated in the last 10 years while fair housing legislation at the state level faces significant roadblocks. Arlington’s fair housing enforcement, education, and commitment to equity practices in housing policy and programs are beginning to show signs of improvement but much more needs to be done.
Join the NAACP Arlington Branch, HOME of Virginia, and Equal Rights Center for the 2nd Annual Arlington Fair Housing Conference on April 15th to discuss the threats and opportunities to advancing fair housing policy across the state and within Arlington.
The half-day, in-person event will feature speakers from fair housing advocacy organizations and government agencies including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and focus on fair housing policy trends in Virginia and Arlington County. The conference aims to advance the understanding of issues and policies related to equity and affirmatively further fair housing among local officials, advocates, and members of the public.
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Is home ownership a goal of yours in 2023? Now is the time to make it happen! Grab a (virtual) drink with the area’s top Real Estate experts, learn all about the home buying process and on how you can get $1,500 towards your closing costs immediately!
Did you know the average Arlington renter will spend $150K in 5 years of renting? Stop paying down someone else’s mortgage! Join us for a Rent vs. Buy Happy Hour on Wednesday, April 5th at 6 p.m. via Zoom. If this time doesn’t work, we also are offering times convenient for your schedule!
A lot has happened in the local market since the beginning of the pandemic. Sip on your drink of choice and learn from Northern Virginia, Arlington and Washingtonian Magazines top producing agents! We will discuss the latest market updates, the home buying process and rent vs. buy cost savings. Please RSVP by clicking here.
Call/text Manavi at 703-869-6698 with any questions!
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