Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Status Quo in Sleepy Alexandria

The Alexandria Times reports:

Voter turnout in Alexandria was low - just over 20 percent - but Democrats voted in sufficient strength to send all five local incumbents back to Richmond.

The only truly contested race was in the 45th House District, where Democrat incumbent David Englin was challenged by Republican [and former Democrat] Mark Allen. Though Allen ran a well-funded, well-organized campaign, the results were the usual: Englin got 62 percent of the votes cast, and Allen received 38 percent of the votes cast. Allen won only one precinct, City Hall.


The only excitement came when Republicans and Democrats went to Circuit Court at just after 5 p.m. to ask for the polls to remain open after 7 p.m. because of a fire at the Pentagon Metro station.

"We were told that the Circuit Court had the authority to keep the polls open, but Judge John Kloch, who was on duty tonight, said he wasn't sure he had that authority," said Susan Kellom, chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee.

According to [Tom Parkins, Alexandria's Voter Registrar], Virginia Code speaks about what a voter registrar is supposed to do if the polls are kept open by the Circuit Court, but, "apparently the lawyers couldn't find the Code section that gives the Circuit Court that implied authority."

"I didn't think they were going to keep the polls open for something like a fire in the Metro because that would be like keeping them open because there was an accident on I-395. The polls are usually kept open past regular closing time because someone in my position screws up and lots of voters are precluded from voting. That certainly wasn't the case here," Parkins said.

I was lucky enough to make it through the Pentagon and cast my vote and undervote before Virginia's polls closed shamefully early.

The real discovery of the night was that I was able to confirm that while Alexandria's voting machines don't allow undervotes in single-race elections, they are allowed in multiple-race elections.

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