County elections officials had to begin photocopying the ballots in order to keep up with voter demand, Arlington Registrar Linda Lindberg confirmed to ARLnow.com. Ballot photocopies are legal, carry the Arlington seal and are authorized by the election board, but cannot be machine scanned and must be counted by hand, Lindberg said.
“No precinct has been out of ballots at any point in time,” she noted, dispelling rumors to the contrary.
In the absence of paper ballots, Lindberg said polling places also have the option of allowing voters to use an electronic ballot marking device, intended for those with disabilities. Ballots cast with the device are machine scannable, but there’s only one device per polling place.
As of 6:30 p.m., elections officials reported that total turnout had reached 38 percent of registered voters, with 24 percent voting in the Democratic primary and 14 percent voting Republican. That’s double the final GOP turnout in Arlington in 2008.
Polls close in Virginia at 7 p.m., but major Metro delays on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines tonight may keep some late voters from casting ballots.
As of 2 p.m. today, with five hours to go until polls close, the percentage of Arlington voters casting ballots in the Republican presidential primary has already exceeded the total from the 2008 GOP primary.
Mid-day Super Tuesday turnout was 24 percent of registered voters in Arlington — 9 percent Republican, 15 percent Democrat.
In 2008, when Barack Obama and John McCain cruised to victory in Virginia, 7 percent of registered Arlington voters cast Republican ballots while 33 percent voted in the Democratic primary.
“For the Republican primary in particular, it’s been a heavier than expected turnout,” said Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg. Democratic turnout, she predicted, is likely to be down slightly from 2008.
Absentee voting is up across all parties, but especially so for Republicans. This year, 2,570 Democratic and 952 Republican ballots were cast, compared to 2,166 Democratic and 440 Republican ballots in 2008.
Lindberg said polling places along the Orange Line corridor and in South Arlington, all Democratic strongholds, have seen surprisingly heavy Republican turnout, while turnout is in line with expectations in some of the more Republican-leaning precincts in far northern Arlington. That raises the possibility of crossover voting; Virginia is one of 18 states with an open presidential primary.
One factor for the increased Republican turnout may be the presence of Donald Trump in the race. Supporters of the businessman and GOP frontrunner have been particularly prolific in placing signs around polling places in Arlington — so much so that Lindberg said the county elections office has received at least one complaint about the Woodmont polling station having too many Trump signs.
(While county ordinance limits political signs in roadside medians to no more than two per candidate per median, there’s no limit at polling places on the day before or day of an election.)
One Trump supporter got an earful this morning while placing signs around Arlington. Reuters reported that former Republican congressional candidate Gwendolyn Beck was putting Trump signs up in front of the Arlington Arts Center, in Virginia Square, when local attorney and cycling advocate Mark Blacknell walked by en route to a nearby polling place.
“I came here to tell you you’re a terrible person,” Blacknell told Beck, according to Reuters.
“Signs normally don’t bother me, but there’s a whiff of burning crosses to Trump’s,” Blacknell later explained.
“Respect for other opinion is fabric [sic] of the USA,” Beck said in response, via Twitter.
No significant problems have been reported at the polls, Lindberg said, though a slight discrepancy between Arlington’s voting instructions and those on the state-provided ballots are prompting some questions.
The instructions in the polling places say that voters may place an “X” in the bubble to mark their vote for a candidate. Virginia’s ballots have older instructions, telling voters to completely fill in the bubble. Either works just fine, said Lindberg.
“It’s just confused a few voters, that’s all,” she said.
After the jump: tweets from those commenting on the Trump signs around Arlington, as well as a tweet from this afternoon’s John Kasich rally at George Mason University in Virginia Square.
It’s March 1 — Not only is today the first day of March, with spring (March 20) and Daylight Saving Time (March 13) around the corner, but it’s also the Super Tuesday presidential primary day here in Virginia. Arlington’s 52 polling places opened at 6 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m. [Arlington County]
Committee of 100 to Discuss Racial Tensions — On Wednesday, March 9, the Arlington Committee of 100 will hold a discussion entitled “Are Arlington’s Police and Justice Systems Prepared to Respond to Community and Racial Tensions?” Among the speakers are Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos and Police Chief Jay Farr. [InsideNova]
It’s a Good Time to Lease an Office in Arlington — D.C.-based commercial real estate firm West, Lane & Schlager is advising companies to consider leasing office space in Arlington in the near future. The firm says the D.C. area is definitely a tenant’s market at the moment, but the tide will eventually turn. With vacancy rates stabilizing, companies can take advantage of lease concessions now, before the market turns in favor of landlords, the firm says. [Patch]
Four Courts Four Miler Coming Up — The popular annual Four Courts Four Miler race will take place Saturday morning, March 12. Registration is currently $40 and will, in part, benefit the Arlington County Police Benevolent Fund. As in previous years, those who beat the runner dressed up as a leprechaun — Ireland’s Four Courts manager Dave Cahill, a 3:10 marathon runner — will get a special gift from the pub. [Pacers Running]
Advisory Board Wants Birthday Cake Banned from Schools — Student birthday celebrations are getting out of hand in Arlington Public Schools, with too many sugary treats being consumed as a result. That’s the view of the Student Health Advisory Board, which made its case to the School Board last week. Some individual schools in Arlington have banned birthday celebrations or, at least, sweet birthday treats. The overall school system, however, does not currently have a formal policy on the matter. [InsideNova]
Del. Hope Wants to Ban ‘Conversion Therapy’ — Del. Patrick Hope (D) has introduced a bill to ban so-called conversion therapy for minors in Virginia. Practitioners of the controversial “therapy” claim that it can change the sexual orientation of individuals from homosexual to heterosexual. [Washington Blade]
The Corner Tex-Mix Lives? — Despite being pronounced dead by ARLnow and Google, it appears that The Corner Tex-Mix at 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive was open last night, at least for a short period of time. A tipster said lights were on and an employee answered the phone and confirmed they were open, shortly before a power outage sent everyone home. The county health department confirmed to ARLnow this morning that there have been no health code violations that would have closed the restaurant temporarily. The tipster said The Corner Tex-Mix seems to just be keeping “odd hours.” [ARLnow]
‘WeLive’ Apartments to Feature Free Cleaning, Sunday Supper — Details of a new apartment building in Manhattan from co-working company WeWork have been released, and they’re likely to also apply to the company’s second “WeLive” building, in Crystal City. The apartments will be fully furnished and will have cable TV, monthly cleaning and a communal Sunday supper included, among other amenities. [UrbanTurf]
$5 Ribs from Texas Jack’s Barbecue — Ribs at the recently-opened Texas Jack’s Barbecue in Lyon Park will cost you around $5. As in, nearly five bucks per rib. The restaurant, in the former Tallula and EatBar space, features a menu of smoked meat created by Executive Chef Matt Lang, winner of the Food Network’s Best in Smoke 2011 and formerly of Hill Country Barbecue in D.C. [DCist]
Va. Voter Registration Deadline Approaches — The deadline to vote in Virginia’s March 1 presidential primary is Monday, Feb. 8. On the GOP side, the election will feature a somewhat controversial loyalty pledge requested by the state party. “Voters who wish to vote in the Republican Primary must first sign the following non-binding statement, which is permitted under § 24.2-545.A of the Code of Virginia: ‘My signature below indicates that I am a Republican,'” county officials note. In-person absentee voting, meanwhile, starts Friday. [Arlington County]
Highest Voter Turnout in N. Arlington — The Arlington neighborhoods north of I-66 had the highest concentration of voter turnout for Tuesday’s election. Arlington’s high-density Metro corridors and neighborhoods south of Columbia Pike generally had the lowest turnout. [Twitter]
Eric Cantor Buys House in Arlington — Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has purchased a $1.8 million house near Pentagon City. Cantor, who works for an investment banking firm in D.C., formerly lived in the Representative condominium on Arlington Ridge, overlooking Pentagon City, while serving in Congress. [Washington Business Journal]
Sport & Health Closing in Crystal City — The Sport & Health Crystal Gateway club at 1235 S. Clark Street has told members that it will close Dec. 4, a tipster tells ARLnow.com. The health club is set to be replaced by a new Earth Treks Climbing Center.
Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman
(Updated at 12:10 a.m.) There will be two new faces sitting on the County Board come January — Democrats Katie Cristol and Christian Dorsey.
Dorsey led the race the entire night, taking approximately 36 percent of the total vote. Ticket mate Cristol followed closely, garnering about 34 percent of the votes. The two Democratic candidates effectively boxed out independent candidates Michael McMenamin and Audrey Clement.
Today’s election was a historic one for Arlington. For the first time in years, voters were asked to select two new County Board members after Board Chair Mary Hynes and Vice Chair Walter Tejada decided to retire. After electing independent John Vihstadt last year, Arlington residents resumed voting for Democrats by giving Cristol and Dorsey the two seats.
“Now it’s time to get to work fulfilling the promise of the campaign, which was bring Arlingtonians together to talk about issues,” Dorsey said.
Voter turnout was relatively low, following the trend of most off-year elections in Virginia. Arlington election officials estimate that around 27 percent of registered voters cast a ballot today, compared to 26 percent turnout in a comparable election four years ago.
The relatively low turnout is a sign that the county needs to do better with communicating how important local elections are, Cristol and Dorsey said.
“As much as I would love Arlington to be special and different, it’s tough when the County Board race is at the top of the ballot,” Dorsey said.
Cristol and Dorsey led the race for County Board with a large gap between them and the independent candidates. The unofficial results are:
- Audrey Clement: 10.08%
- Katie Cristol: 34.41%
- Christian Dorsey: 35.71%
- Mike McMenamin: 19.03%
A group of more than 40 people in yellow shirts has been knocking on the doors of homes in the Glebe and Arlington Mill voting districts the past few days in hopes of increasing voter turnout today.
The group is part of the Virginians for Organized Interfaith Community Engagement, an organization that supports social justice causes like affordable housing and that strives to increase the amount of people who actively engage in local politics.
As of 9 a.m. this morning, Nov. 3, VOICE members had talked to almost 600 people who pledged they would vote, said VOICE spokeswoman Marjorie Green. Arlington residents are voting for two new County Board members, making this an election that will set the direction of county policy for years to come.
“Even if only a third of those voters actually go to the polls, we figure we will have contributed to a more than 20 percent increase in voter turnout, a pretty significant figure in an election in which, as I just heard, the county registrar is saying turnout thus far is only about 15 percent,” Green said.
VOICE’s goal with its “Get Out the Vote” push is to engage with 2,000 people in the Glebe and Arlington Mill voting districts in hopes of raising voter turnout by 5 percent, the group said in a press release. The Glebe voting district includes the Nauck neighborhood, and the Arlington Mill district is made up of people in Columbia Pike and Arlington Mill areas.
VOICE is targeting the Glebe and Arlington Mill voting districts because people living there have historically skipped voting in off-year elections, like today’s, Green said. They have also raised concerns of their voices not being heard by county officials, said Rev. James E. Victor, Jr., the pastor at Mount Olive Baptist Church in Arlington View and a VOICE leader.
Residents in the Glebe voting district can vote at the Drew Recreation Center (3500 23th Street S.) and those in the Arlington Mill district can vote at Campbell Elementary School (737 S. Carlin Springs Road).
VOICE members stood at bus stops this morning encouraging people to stop by the two polling places and to cast their votes, Green said, adding that the organization will also be calling people throughout the day in hopes of getting more people to vote.
Despite one of the most consequential and competitive County Board races in recent memory, relatively light turnout has been reported at the polls in Arlington so far today.
Linda Lindberg, Arlington County’s top elections official, said turnout was around 12 percent as of 12:45 p.m.
“It’s been pretty light,” Lindberg told ARLnow.com “Some precincts are doing quite well and others are very, very slow.”
Lindberg said turnout is similar to the 2011 election, when 26 percent of registered voters went to the polls. She expects the final turnout today to be around that figure. The number of absentee ballots submitted this election cycle — 2,200 — is also comparable to 2011.
“I would have thought that we would have done a little better this time, because we do have a more competitive County Board race,” Lindberg said.
No major problems have been reported at the polls, which opened at 6 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m. Arlington County is using paper ballots this year, a throw back to the mid-20th century. Most recently, Arlington had been using electronic voting machines that were later revealed to have serious security flaws.
Some voters who required assistance using the ballot reading machines have complained that poll workers could see who they voted for while demonstrating how to use the machines.
“We’re going to iron out those issues,” Lindberg said.
The Arlington County elections office will be tweeting County Board election results live tonight after polls close, via its @arlingtonvotes Twitter account.
Registered voters who have not yet cast ballots can find out more information about the candidates via the League of Women Voters voter guide.
Voter turnout is only about 10-12% so far. Come on, Arlington – we can do better, so get out to vote! Polls close at 7 pm.
— Arlington Elections (@ArlingtonVotes) November 3, 2015
Group Offers Cheap Drinks to Encourage Voting — A nonprofit group will outside a half dozen Arlington polling stations on Tuesday, handing out wristbands good for cheap drinks at Clarendon bars, to “encourage young voters to celebrate democracy” and “draw more apathetic young voters out on Election Day.” [Washington Post]
Arlington Asking for Aquatics Center Feedback — Should Arlington County build the stalled Long Bridge Park aquatics and fitness center? If so, what kind of features should it include? That’s what the county is asking in a new online survey. Arlington originally launched a public input process for the planned aquatics facility in March. [InsideNova]
Airport to Cease Being a Homeless Haven — Starting today, Reagan National Airport will be kicking out the homeless who have used it as a makeshift shelter. Because it was clean, safe and open 24/7, dozens of local homeless individuals would pretend to be waylaid travelers and sleep in the airport’s terminals overnight. Increased use as a homeless sanctuary prompted airport officials to decide to no longer tolerate what will now be treated as trespassing. [Washington Post]
Fuel Spill at DCA — On Friday hazmat crews and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to a reported spill of 7,500-9,000 gallons of jet fuel on the south side of Reagan National Airport. The spill has been largely contained and is not a threat to drinking water, officials say. [WTOP]
Flickr pool photo by Vandiik
Woman Takes Stage to Find Bathroom — An apparently intoxicated woman climbed on stage during a recent Signature Theatre production in Shirlington, made her way backstage and asked a cast member for directions to the bathroom. [Playbill]
Spout Run Closure — The eastbound lanes of the Spout Run Parkway will be completely closed from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. today for road paving. No detours will be in place and “alternative routes should be used,” according to the National Park Service.
Arlington Murder to Be Featured on TV Show — This coming Sunday, at 10 p.m., the show “Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall” on Investigation Discovery will feature the 2012 homicide of Mack L. Woods Sr. in Arlington. [Patch]
Charleys Now Open in Pentagon City — A Charleys Philly Steaks restaurant is now open in the food court of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall food court. “Charleys brings a unique experience to the food court with its grilled-fresh-in-front-of-you flavor,” the company said in a press release.
Food Truck Stops Taking Cash — The Lemongrass food truck, which frequents Arlington, has decided to stop accepting cash. The truck now only takes credit and debit cards. [Washington Post]
Why Arlington Went to Paper Ballots — Arlington reintroduced paper ballots this year after dumping its electronic voting machines. Why did it get rid of the more modern tech? The WINVote system was found to be grossly insecure and the touchscreen devices were dubbed the “worst voting machines” in America. [Wired]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
It’s an election that could set the direction of Arlington County policy for years to come — and so far turnout is light.
Voters are heading to the polls today to select two Democratic nominees in the race for County Board. There are six Democratic candidates seeking their party’s nomination: Andrew Schneider, Bruce Wiljanen, Katie Cristol, James Lander, Peter Fallon, and Christian Dorsey.
While it’s a rare opportunity to fill the open seats of two retiring County Board members — Mary Hynes and Walter Tejada — the turnout has been about as low as is usually expected for a local primary.
“Overall it’s been pretty slow so far,” county General Registrar Linda Lindberg told ARLnow.com. She said turnout has been especially sluggish along the county’s Metro corridors and along Columbia Pike.
Two areas of slightly higher turnout, according to Lindberg, have been:
- The South Arlington precincts within the 45th House of Delegates district, which are voting for a Democratic nominee to replace Del. Rob Krupicka.
- The Marshall and Yorktown precincts in North Arlington, home to Fallon and Schneider, respectively.
Lindberg said there have been no reported problems with the county’s new paper ballot system, instituted after security issues were raised about electronic voting machines in Virginia.
“The voting has gone just fine, I’ve had no issues or complaints about the paper ballots,” she said. Asked about the potential for an evening rush of voters, Lindberg said delays at the polls are unlikely.
“There might be a slight surge around 5:00 or 6:00, but generally speaking I wouldn’t expect any lines.”
Polls close at 7:00 p.m.
The few people to be found outside the Arlington Forest and Randolph Elementary precincts this morning said they were aware of the potential importance of the race. Tonight’s two primary winners will face independent candidates Audrey Clement and Michael McMenamin in the November general election.
“Especially with these two open seats, people they elect now are going to be there for a while,” said Brandon Forester, who was supporting Dorsey outside of Randolph Elementary. “It will set tone for years to come.”
“I think this is the most important election in Arlington County for decades,” said Michael Thomas, an Arlington Forest resident.
Cori Rattleman, another Arlington Forest resident, said her top issues in this election were schools, parks and affordable housing. She said she was confident that the primary winners will go on to win in November.
Heather Mongilio contributed to this report
Dems Debate in Ballston — The six Democratic candidates for County Board faced off in their first debate last night, before a standing-room only crowd at the NRECA conference center in Ballston. The debate was held by Arlington Young Democrats. Though knowledgable about current issues facing Arlington, candidates were light on specifics about what should be done to address those issues. [InsideNova]
Disruption Corp. Sold to 1776 — Disruption Corp., the Crystal City-based tech investment fund and office space, has been acquired by D.C.-based tech incubator 1776. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. [Washington Post]
Caps Pep Rally at Elementary School — Third grade students at Carlin Springs Elementary School have won a contest to bring a Washington Capitals playoff pep rally to their school today. The rally will start at 12:30 p.m. “There won’t likely be any players, but it will be a great time for all,” a teacher tells ARLnow.com. “The kids will be getting prizes, pictures with Slapshot (the Caps’ mascot) and learning some hockey skills. The Caps are also donating equipment to the school.” [Washington Capitals]
Artisphere ‘Doomed from the Start’ — Artisphere, which is on the budgetary chopping block next week, was “doomed from the start,” according to the artistic director of a theatre company that was booted out of its space at the cultural center two years after it opened. An anonymous Artisphere employee said of the early, over-optimistic attendance and revenue projections: “All of those numbers were so completely false.” [Washington Post]
McAuliffe Signs Special Needs Bill in Arlington — On Tuesday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe came to Arlington to sign the ABLE Act, which will allow individuals with special needs, and their families, to set up tax-exempt accounts that will allow them to save for future living expenses. Virginia is the first state to enact such legislation, which received the blessing of the U.S. Congress in December. [WJLA]
Security of Va. Voting Machines Blasted — The touch screen voting machines now being replaced in Arlington and elsewhere in Virginia were “so easy to hack, it will take your breath away,” according to reports. [Ars Technica, The Guardian]
Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok
The paper ballots will be digitally scanned and allow more voters to vote faster, and provide a hard copy of ballots in case of technical malfunctions, Arlington County said in a press release. It’s the first time the county has used paper ballots since 1950, county General Registrar Linda Lindberg told ARLnow.com.
The county was forced to make the purchases by a ruling by the Commissioner of Elections recommending the electronic WinVote machines be decertified and prohibited.
“Last week, without any notification to the users, the State Board of Elections said they had found ‘vulnerabilities with the machines,'” Lindberg said. “This late-night press release that they did very publicly without our knowledge has basically killed the machines for us.”
When asked what problems Arlington had encountered with the touch-screen machines, in use in the county since 2003, Lindberg said “nothing.”
Arlington had already planned on purchasing paper ballots and digital scanners next year. A 2007 law passed by the General Assembly requires all localities, when procuring new voting equipment, to eschew electronic machines for paper ballots.
Arlington will now have to come up with $750,000 to purchase 60 digital scanners — one for each of the 53 votings precincts with extras for absentee ballots and training — in the FY 2016 budget, which the Arlington County Board will adopt next week.
“This is the minimal amount we can get by on for the time being,” Lindberg said. Next year, her office will have to spend hundreds of thousands of additional dollars procuring extra machines and equipment for a presidential election year, which means a much greater influx of absentee ballots.
The first election the paper ballots will be used for is the June Democratic primary for County Board. On May 9, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Lindberg’s office will be hosting an open house to explain the new balloting system on the ground floor of 2100 Clarendon Blvd.
In 1950, Arlington switched from paper ballots to the lever machines, where voters had to go into a booth and pull a curtain behind them. In 1991, the county introduced its first electronic machines — bulky, “but very reliable,” Lindberg said — and in 2003 they starting using the touch-screen system that is now obsolete.
Arts Center Gets Warhol Grant — The Arlington Arts Center has received a $70,000 grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. “Funding from the Foundation will increase AAC’s capacity to support and present the work of new artists and spur the development of new initiatives and exhibitions,” AAC said in a press release. “Programming support of this scale makes new programs possible, like one for rising curators, while also furthering the ongoing work of the arts center.”
Bicycle Billboard Towers Sought — The Washington Area Bicyclist Association and BikeArlington are seeking bike ambassadors for a safety campaign. Volunteers will ride around Arlington while towing a large, wheeled billboard that tells drivers to pass bikes with at least three feet of space. The sign also encourages all road users to be predictable, alert and lawful. [WABA]
Arlington Couple Get Baby Wish Times Three — The Washington Post’s “This Life” feature profiles an Arlington couple who had trouble conceiving a child when, all of a sudden, fate blessed them with three via various means. [Washington Post]
Voting Machines May Go Old School — As part of a state-wide switch, Arlington election officials are considering replacing all touch screen voting machines with digital optical scan machines in time for the 2016 presidential election. The new machines will utilize what is fundamentally an old-school voting method: scanning paper ballots, which then leaves a paper trail for recounts. [InsideNova]
Jane Goodall to Speak at Marymount Benefit — Famed primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall will speak at a benefit event for Arlington’s Marymount University this spring. The event is taking place at DAR Constitution Hall on Friday, April 17. Ticket proceeds will “help establish a fund at Marymount that will enhance the work of volunteerism and community engagement.” [Marymount University]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Sheryl Crow Musical Coming to Shirlington — The world premiere musical adaptation of the moving Diner is coming to Signature Theatre in Shirlington next month. Written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Barry Levinson, with music and lyrics by Sheryl Crow, Diner will run from Dec. 9 to Jan. 25. [Signature Theatre]
Crossover Voting Strong in N. Arlington — Throughout Arlington, Democratic voters “crossed over” to vote for John Vihstadt on Tuesday. Overall, however, the residential portions of North Arlington had the greatest crossover vote for the independent County Board candidate. [Not Larry Sabato]
Voter ID Rule Mostly Affected Seniors — About 60 Arlington voters did not bring a photo ID to the polls on Tuesday, election officials said. Under new ID rules in Virginia, they could only cast a provisional ballot then come back and present photo ID. Most of those without ID were senior citizens, and many of those senior citizens were from the same local retirement home. [InsideNova]