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The 2016 General Election starts today with absentee voting

From Delegate Rich Anderson (who is not running for re-election this year): 

With Election Day in only 47 days, and tomorrow (Friday, September 23) being the first day that you can vote Absentee In-Person, I’m providing you with information that will make your voting experience easier.  

If you need to register to vote, update your current voter registration, or can’t make it to the polls on Election Day, please visit this website

The deadline to register to vote, or to update your current voter registration for this year’s General Election, is October 17

 
If you are unable to make it to the polls on Election Day (Tuesday, November 8), you can vote Absentee In-Person or vote Absentee By Mail.
 
You will be able to vote Absentee In-Person in this year’s general election beginning Friday, September 23.
 
There are easy ways to vote Absentee:
  • Apply online to receive a ballot by mail by clicking here.

  • Vote Absentee In-Person by visiting the Prince William County (PWC) Office of Elections or various satellite voting locations in PWC.

  • The PWC Office of Elections is at 9250 Lee Ave., Suite 1, Manassas, VA.

  • http://www.pwcvotes.com/absentee-voting-locations

 
There are multiple reasons you can vote via Absentee ballot, which include:
  • Being away from home on business on Election Day

  • Being away from home on personal business or vacation on Election Day

  • Having an illness or disability that keeps you from the polls on Election Day

For the full list of reasons why you may be eligible to vote Absentee, a list of Absentee In-Person voting locations and hours, and much more information, please visit: 

http://elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/index.html

News
Prince William County needs 200 Election Officers. Now.

We asked the Prince William County Office of Elections if they needed help finding election officers for the upcoming General Election on Nov. 8, 2016.

Julie Gideon, who spoke on behalf of Prince William County General Registrar, replied:

Yes, we do need help!

So we asked some questions, and she answered: 

Please describe the need for election officers in PWC for the November 8, 2016 General Election. Are the needs proportional in all areas of the county? (east, west, central)?

We need officers all over Prince William County, but the greatest need is in Gainesville, Haymarket, Bristow and Manassas north and west of Manassas City.

How does the Office of Elections recruit new election officers? Please describe the scope of work/expectations of an election officer working on Election Day. What is the pay? Please describe what, if any, training is provided.

We are reaching out to the community to recruit Election Officers as part of our voter education effort. We have attended local events such as the Prince William County Fair and Haymarket Days, and are also speaking to local groups, and organizations.

Election Officers work a very long day – but it’s worth it! Our day at the polls starts at 5:00 a.m. so that we can set everything up before the polls open at 6:00 a.m., and lasts until after the polls close at 7:00 p.m. and all of the votes are counted and the equipment put away which is usually around 9:00 p.m.

Election Officers are paid $125 for election day plus $15 per training class. New officers are required to take a process training class, and are encourage to take a hands-on workshop to learn how to operate the machines they will work with on Election Day.

How many elections officers does PWC currently have on hand? How much more are needed?

Currently, we have over 1400 elections officers for 91 precincts. We need an additional 200.

Please describe what the conditions at the polls could be like on Election Day if more elections officers are not obtained?

During the November 2012 Presidential Election, voters in many precincts experienced very long lines which meant that it took hours in some cases to vote. We have implemented many changes since then to achieve our goal of no voter waiting more than 30 minutes to cast their vote. These changes include new optical scanners with paper ballots instead of the Electronic Voting Machines, additional laptops for checking in voters, and most importantly additional Election Officers to help guide voters through the process. Without the Officers, the equipment cannot be utilized to its full potential.

What are the requirements to become an election officer?

All Election Officers must be registered voters in Virginia. If you are not yet registered to vote, please go to vote.virginia.gov. Election Officers also cannot hold elected office or be employed by an elected official.

How can residents sign up to become an election officer?

Please visit our website at pwcvotes.com and click on “Become an Election Officer” and click on “online application.” This website also includes additional information about Absentee Voting and the constitutional amendments on the ballot in November.

News
Meet, greet, and hear the candidates for Manassas City Council questioned at Sept. 28 forum

manassascandidates

Candidates running for a seat on the Manassas City Council will gather on Wednesday, Sept. 28 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at City Hall for a candidates forum.

Potomac Local Publisher Uriah Kiser will moderate the discussion.

More in a press release from Historic Manassas Inc. 

Historic Manassas, Inc. in conjunction with the Old Town Business Association, will be hosting a City Council Forum on Wednesday, September 28 from 5:30 – 8:00 PM in Council Chambers at City Hall (located at 9027 Center Street) in Manassas. This year, seven candidates are competing for three open council seats. There will also be two candidates running for City Treasurer while Mayor Hal Parrish is running unopposed.

Candidates will have a chance to do meet and greets from 5:30 – 6:00 PM and introductions will begin promptly at 6:00PM. A local moderator will moderate the forum with three candidates responding to each question followed by closing remarks no later than 8:00 PM.

Residents and community members are invited to submit questions to the forum on HMI’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/manassas/ before September 25th. The forum is open to the public and will be streamed on Facebook Live.

Here’s a Manassas City sample ballot to be used in the Nov. 8, 2016 General Election.

 

News
Manassas Democrats education plan: Keep teachers, renovate Dean Elementary, and to get the City Council and School Board to play nicely together

manassasdemocrats

Submitted by Manassas Democrats: 

Education is a key focus of the slate of Democratic candidates running for Manassas City Council.

Each of the candidates running – Rex Parr, Pam Sebesky, and Mark Wolfe – has already worked to improve education in Manassas City Public Schools (MCPS). Together they have announced four key initiatives to continue MCPS’s upward trend.

The Democrats’ first goal is universal Pre-K education. “Pre-K is the key to future workforce development,” says Sebesky, a six-year member of the MCPS School Board. “It’s essential that all students have access to quality Pre-K, no matter what their circumstances are, so they can be successful in their educational careers.”

To that end, Sebesky as a member of the MCPS School Board pushed for the adoption of the Footsteps2Brilliance® program. The Model Innovation City™ service is a turn-key, citywide literacy solution that utilizes the Footsteps2Brilliance® mobile technology platform to cost-effectively scale a Pre-school through 3rd grade literacy app to every family within the Manassas City Public Schools jurisdiction. Students study comprehension, critical thinking skills, writing, book creation, standards-based skill development, mathematics development, and vocabulary mastery. Through a toggle switch, students and families also have access to the content in Spanish.

Parr is former CEO of Didlake, Inc. and active member of EDGE Manassas, a group of local business owners and CEOs working directly with MCPS to improve local workforce readiness. He was one of four original benefactors who together purchased all mobile devices necessary for economically disadvantaged children to access Footsteps2Brilliance® in the 2015-16 school year, the pilot year.

“Now we need to leverage last year’s investment,” says Parr. “We need to increase the number of children and parents participating in the program, and keep the success going as they progress through our schools.”

That, says Parr, is where the City Council comes in. “For too long, the City Council has been detached from the School Board and schools. Lately, the local business community said this separation was no longer acceptable. The business community had to come in and give attention to the schools.

Wolfe agrees, from his position as current City Council member, having served for eight years. “That division of City Council and schools has to change. City Council has to partner with the School Board. We will do that.”

Support for the school system’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program is the second education initiative for the Democrat candidates.

As both a local businessman and Council member, Wolfe is working to bring the City Council and MCPS into alignment. His company is providing free training as part of Osbourn High School’s CTE offerings. “We are partnering with local firms in the trades, creating apprentice programs,” he says.

Osbourn High School’s CTE program has recently been revamped and revitalized,” says Sebesky. “Our students need to graduate into a living wage job,” and so she worked through the School Board and with MCPS for newly strengthened certificate programs in HVAC, construction management, CISCO networking, food service management, automotive repair, and cosmetology.

“Our need for workforce development drove the construction management certificate,” adds Sebesky. “With the rapidly growing Northern Virginia area, students will now get relevant work experience, and with certifications they will earn better wages and have better career opportunities.”

“We have also developed externships for teachers,” says Parr, “where teachers spend time in local businesses to stay current with the job skills that better prepare students for jobs after graduation.” From his experience running a locally based business, Parr notes, “For teachers, the mission is to educate kids. For businesses, it’s for schools to develop a workforce. That could be a division, but in Manassas we are going to work together to generate mutual, achievable goals, which will better our residents and our City.”

The three Democrat candidates also support capital improvement of Manassas City Public Schools.

“Jennie Dean Elementary School outlived its useful life many years ago,” says Wolfe. “That project is in the 2020 capital plan, and we will explore that in 2019.”

Sebesky agrees, and based on her experience on the School Board, adds, “Improvement – basic renovations – will cost almost as much as to build a new building.”

“We can’t kick that can down the road anymore,” says Wolfe. “A new school is in the debt service program, but we need the tax rate to fund the debt service program. We need leadership on the next City Council to get that handled, finally.”

And finally, Parr, Sebesky, and Wolfe support retention of Manassas City Public Schools’ teaching and administrative staff. We have excellent teachers,” says Parr, “and we need to keep them.”

“Our goal is to make our salary and benefits packages competitive with all of the other school districts in Northern Virginia,” says Wolfe.The quality of our schools is critical to the success of the City of Manassas,” he says. “Better educated kids means less crime. Better schools means higher home values. A better educated workforce means greater economic development.”

“We are making Manassas a community of choice. We compete for businesses and families. We [Wolfe, Parr, and Sebesky] will make Manassas the City where people choose to make their homes, and establish their businesses, says Wolfe.

 
 

News
Live in Manassas? Here are some important dates to note as election nears

cityhall1

Submitted: 

The last day to register to vote for the Nov. 8, 2016 General Election is Oct. 17, 2016 by 5 p.m.

·         The City of Manassas Voter Registration Office, located at 9025 Center St., Manassas, will be open for in-person absentee voting Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Friday, Sept. 23

·         The Voter Registration Office will be open two Saturdays for in-person absentee voting: Oct. 29 and Nov. 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

·         The last day to vote absentee in-person is Nov. 5, 2016 for the Nov. 8, 2016 General Election.

·         The last day to request an absentee ballot by mail is Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016.

News
Wittman to meet and greet at Pitkins

pitkinswoodbine

From Sarah Pitkin, owner of Pitkins Ace Hardware: 

Please join us for a meet-n-greet with Congressman Rob Wittman.  Saturday September 24, 2016 from 12-2pm at our Woodbine Ace Hardware store: 13418 Dumfries Rd (Rt 234) Manassas, VA 20112.

The grill will be going with some hot dogs and fun treats.  The root beer will be flowing.  Come in, meet Rob and discuss what issues that are impacting our nation and Virginia are important to you!
Rep. Rob Wittman serves Virginia’s 1st Congressional District, portions of which include Prince William County. He is also mounting a campaign for Virginia Governor in 2017.

News
Stewart: Let’s put our own campaigns on the back-burner and elect Trump

Corey Stewart, who is working as Donald Trump’s campaign manager in Virginia, and who is also mounting a campaign for Virginia Governor in 2017, has urged other Republicans also running for Virginia Governor next year to work together to get Trump elected president.

Here’s Stewart’s emailed statement to reporters this morning: 

Today, candidate for Governor and Chairman of the Trump campaign Corey Stewart called on Virginia’s Gubernatorial Candidates to join him in directing their full focus on electing Donald J. Trump in November. He released the following statement:

“With 56 days left, I am urging all Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates to join me in a common mission of electing Donald J. Trump- while putting our own campaigns on the back-burner. This is an invitation to support Trump’s candidacy by speaking at candidate rallies, attending local Trump events, and showing support publicly. We all know what’s at stake. We have closed the gap, and we are now neck-and-neck with Hillary here in Virginia and around the country. There is no time to waste. We must put our differences aside and declare- loudly and clearly, that we are one Republican Party of Virginia, united behind Donald J. Trump and all of our candidates. I look forward to joining all of our candidates for statewide office, and the great people of our state in fighting to be victorious on November 8th.” -Corey Stewart

We’ve asked for statements from other Republican candidates seeking to become Virginia’s next governor, to include Congressman Rob Wittman, Virginia Senator Frank Wagner, and former U.S. Senate candidate Ed Gillespie.

We’ll post them here if we receive them.

Stewart is also the Prince William County Board of Supervisors At-large Chairman.

 

 

News
Manassas shops for new voting machines, considers new precinct

manassas-city-precinct

For voters in Manassas City, what’s old is new again. 

The city will use optical scanner voting machines starting with the November 2017 Election. The machines will use paper ballots, then will insert them into the ballot machine to be counted.

“If a recount is needed, the paper ballot allows us to determine the true intention of the voter,” said Manassas City General Registrar Susan Reed. 

City officials budgeted $95,000 for the new voting machines,  which will replace the old touch-screen voting machines placed into use in 2000, and older pull-lever machines. The purchase of the new machines will probably cost more than what is budgeted, said Manassas Electoral Board Secretary Patricia Fields. 

A state mandate that requires localities the switch back to paper ballots makes the machines a must-do purchase. The state does not supply funds for the purchase, she added.

Reed and members of the city’s Electoral Board had two machines on display at Monday night’s City Council meeting. The Board is testing devices from two vendors — one in Virginia and one in Pennsylvania. 

The vendor that is awarded the contract for the machines will also be responsible for printing custom ballots for each election. The information on the ballots will be reviewed by the Electoral Board, as well as the candidates listed before printing. 

Last year, Prince William County made the switch to optical scanning machines. The printed ballots listed the full names of candidates. However, some candidates said they would rather have their nickname on the ballot instead. 

Ultimately, the county decided not to reprint ballots. In Manassas, Reed said the information that will appear on city ballots next year would come directly from the State Office of Elections.

The new machines could be in the city as early as Jan 1. Afterward, the Electoral Board aims to hold a series of public meetings to demonstrate how the new optical scanning machines work.

The City Council on Monday night also approved reviewed the proposed creation of the city’s sixth voting precinct. The council is expected to approve the new precinct in 2017, after the 2016 Presidential Election.

Rising population in surrounding voting precincts is the driving force behind creating the new polling area. Voters in the new precinct will vote at George C. Round Elementary School, which is not currently being used as a polling place. 

Voters will be notified by the General Registrar’s office if their polling place changes. 

The average population for a voting precinct is about 4,000 residents. The Weems Precinct is the exception to the rule with about 4,300 registered voters. 

With less development planned in the Weems Precinct than other in city precincts, Fields said she isn’t concerned about the higher number of voters in Weems.

News
It’s time to change the name of the Godwin voting precinct

millsgodwinmiddle

The time has come to change the name of the Godwin Middle School voting precinct in Dale City.

When elections officials strip the Godwin name from the voting precinct, it will be the last trace of Mills E. Godwin in Prince William County Public Schools, the former Virginia Governor Dale City’s first middle school was named after.

The Prince William County School Board voted unanimously on March 2 to change the name of the school to the Dr. George Hampton Middle School, in honor of a local philanthropist. Officials argued that the name of Godwin, who supported segregation of schools and later supported integration when he was governor, had no place on a school building in Prince William County.

From Prince William County documents:

precinctnamechange1

precinctnamechange2

The name change is expected to cost taxpayers $1,700 to cover the costs of new signage, maps, and mailing notices to residents about the name change.

Mailers notifying residents of the precinct change must be sent to voters 15 days before the election, according to county documents. State law requires any precinct name change be completed 60 days before the election.

The name change is expected to come before the Board of Supervisors in July.

The Prince William County Electoral Board will meet Thursday, June 23 at 2 p.m. at the Main Office of Elections, 9250 Lee Avenue, Suite 1 in Manassas.

News
Reinboldt seeks to reclaim seat on Stafford School Board

Dana Reinboldt hopes to recapture her seat representing the Griffis-Widewater Distict on the Stafford County School Board. 

She announced her candidacy today in a special election to be held Nov. 8, 2016 to replace Emily Fallon who resigned earlier this year after allegations surfaced that PTA funds at Moncure Elementary School went missing while Fallon was PTA president.

Here’s Reinboldt’s press release: 

Stafford, Virginia –Wednesday, June 15, 2016—Dana Reinboldt of Stafford, has announced her candidacy for the Griffis-Widewater School Board Seat in the Special Called

election on November 8, 2016.

“I’m excited about the potential opportunity to once again represent the citizens of Griffis- Widewater. I believe it is crucial for our district to have a strong and effective voice on the School Board. The citizens of our community deserve a committed representative, with integrity, working on their behalf. My experience as an elected school board member will permit me to provide Griffis-Widewater residents immediate, effective representation.

I have lived in the Griffis-Widewater District of Stafford County for the past 28 years with my husband, John. My 3 children all attended, and graduated from Stafford County Public Schools. I have 24 years of extensive experience as a parent and a volunteer in Stafford County Public Schools.”

Reinboldt served on the School Board in the Griffis-Widewater seat from 2004 to 2015. Fallon beat Reinboldt in a November 2015 General Election with 1,235 votes to Reinboldt’s 961, according to the Stafford County Voter Registrar’ s Office.

Melissa Y. Ayres earlier this month was appointed to represent the Griffis-Widewater District as the area’s School Board member. Reinboldt sought the temporary appointment given to Ayres, she said.

News
Manassas Democrats announce ticket for 2016

Wolfe

Wolfe

Manassas Democrats have forged what they call a unified ticket of candidates running for City Council this fall.

Incumbent Manassas City Councilman Mark Wolfe was elected to the City Council in 2008 as a Republican. Wolfe opted to file for reelection for the GOP and decided to run as a Democrat.

Wolfe has $900 in the bank from Republican donors from previous campaigns.

Correction: Statement from Mark Wolfe sent via email after we published this post: 

“The section about my having $900 in campaign donations from Republican donors is inaccurate.

In fact I had closed and zeroed out my campaign account after the 2012 election.

The data shown: http://www.vpap.org/donors/193983-mark-wolfe/ reflects a person donation TO Scott Lingenfel[t]er I made in 2010.”

Sebesky

Sebesky

Also on the Democratic ticket is incumbent Manassas City School Board member Pam Sebesky. She has served on the School Board for the past six years.

Political newcomer Rex Parr rounds out the Democratic ticket. He retired last year as the CEO of Didlake, Inc.

Sebesky and Parr tell us all three candidates are running on a platform of safer and better neighborhoods, and better schools, and to add a new fire station to the city’s southside to improve fire crew response times.

parr

Parr

They also told us the city has not had a comprehensive strategic plan since 2003. That is something they want to change.

On the Republican side, Ian Lovejoy, Jonathan Way, and Theresa Coates Ellis round out the ticket.

Voters will head to the polls Nov. 8.

News
Prince William wants more absentee voters in November to avoid the long lines we saw in 2012

A long line of voters in Woodbridge’s River Oaks precinct waited for four hours to cast their vote during the Nov. 6 General Election. (Submitted photo)

Elections officials in Prince William County want more people to vote absentee.

The Office will hold an information session Saturday, June 11, 2016, at 9 a.m. at the Prince William County Government Center McCoart Building.

The primary goal of the session is to show why we must get a high number of voters to vote absentee to effectively reduce the number of voters in line on Election Day.

The second goal of the session is to educate everyone on the many ways voters are eligible to vote absentee by mail.

Officers of Election who serve on Election Day at your precincts will also be in attendance.

— Michele L. White, Director of Elections & General Registrar, Prince William County

Yes, audience members will be shown a power point. Here’s a sneak peak.

Voters in Prince William County during the Presidential Election four years ago were plagued by long lines. They stood in line for hours to vote.

A congressional hearing was held the following January about the debacle.

News
McAuliffe headed to Micron in Manassas to sign FOIA bill

mcauliffe-manassas-1

Gov. Terry McAuliffe will be in Manassas on Friday to sign into a law a piece of legistlation dealing with the Freedom of Information Act

SB645, the exempt records concerning critical infrastructure information bill, introduced by freshman Sen. Jeremy McPike defines what exactly is “critical infrastructure” information.

The bill comes after several state agencies have asked major corporations, to include railroads, utility companies, and cyber security providers for information about how it plans to respond to national security threats or attacks.

Those organizations have been less than forthcoming when it comes to providing that information, a McPike spokeswoman said, because of fears the secure information would appear on a public website, and that information falling, ultimately, into the wrong hands.

McAuliffe is expected to sign the bill into law at 12:30 p.m. Friday during a visit to Micron Technologies, located at 9600 Godwin Drive in Manassas.

Manassas & Manassas Park Democrats announce nomination process for 2016 local elections

The Manassas and Manassas Park Cities Democratic Committee (MMPCDC) has scheduled assembled caucuses to nominate Democratic candidates for Manassas and Manassas Park races in the November 8, 2016 General Election.

Specifically, the MMPCDC seeks to nominate Democratic candidates for mayor and city council in each city and for Manassas City treasurer (subject to a special election for that office being placed on the November 8 ballot). In each city, three city council seats and one mayoral seat are up for election this November.

Candidates who seek the Democratic Party nomination for any of those offices must submit a completed Declaration of Candidacy form and a $250 filing fee to the MMPCDC by Friday, May 27 at 5 pm. Complete details–including the Call to Caucus, the Declaration of Candidacy form, and the Caucus Rules-are posted on the MMPCDC website, manassascitydemocrats.com.

If more than one candidate for any elected office should properly file for the Democratic nomination by the May 27th deadline, an assembled caucus will be held to select the nominee. The caucuses for Manassas City nominations are scheduled for Monday, June 6, 7:00 pm, at Manassas City Hall, 9027 Center St, in the first floor Council Chambers.

The caucuses for Manassas Park nominations are scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, 7:00 pm, at the Manassas Park Police Station, 329 Manassas Dr, in the 1st floor conference room. For both sets of caucuses, the doors will open at 6:30 pm for check-in and close promptly at 7:00 pm. Voting will be open to all registered voters from the respective city who sign a standard Democratic declaration form and arrive for voting before 7:00 pm.

If the number of qualified candidates who file for a race by the May 27 deadline does not exceed the number of available seats, the Chair may declare those candidates to be the Party’s nominees and cancel the respective nominating Caucus. If there are no contested races for any seat, the Chair may cancel the Caucus entirely. A notice of all such caucus cancellations will be posted on the MMPCDC website by May 27 at 7:30 pm. For more information, call 571-358-9893 or visit http://www.manassascitydemocrats.com/?p=1258.

News
Stewart running for governor, taking cues from Trump

stewart, prince william, supervisor

Corey Stewart is running for governor in 2017.

He’s positioning himself as a Donald Trump-like candidate who will say whatever he wants, who means what he says, and, if elected, does what he means. Stewart since December has led the effort in Virginia to get Trump elected, serving as his statewide campaign coordinator — crisscrossing the state campaigning for the billionaire.

Many have said Stewart aligned himself with Trump to be a better-looking candidate, as the ideal conservative for an eventual run for the state’s highest office. They were correct. (more…)

News
Reynolds wants to improve Dumfries transportation

Helen Reynolds is running to keep her seat on the Dumfries Town Council. 
 
Reynolds says transportation is an important issue for the town. 

Find your polling place

 
Dumfries residents will head to the polls May 3, 2016 to elect new members to the Town Council.
 
We sent a questionnaire to Reynolds, and all other candidates seeking office in Dumfries. Her responses are below: 
 

(more…)

News
Earlene Clinton on Quantico: ‘There is no effective communication system here’

Earlene Clinton seeks to keep her seat on the Quantico Town Council. 
 
She says the town needs more events, and is in need of a better communication system for the residents. 

Find your polling place

Quantico residents will head to the polls May 3, 2016 to elect new members to the Town Council, and Mayor.
 
We sent a questionnaire to Clinton, and all other candidates seeking office in Quantico. Her responses are below: 

(more…)

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