Bulova Wants Review of Voting Efficiency
Fairfax County Supervisor says group should look at long waiting times at some polling spots and recommend ways to improve.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova says she will recommend a commission to look ways to improve the county's efficiency on Election Day.
Bulova says she was concerned about long lines, wait times and other voting issues.
Voter turnout for the 2012 election in Fairfax County was 80.5 percent. In the last presidential election, the turnout was 78.7 percent (with 72,501 fewer registered voters than today), county officials said. Meanwhile, absentee voting in the county was down 2.7 percent from 2008.
Lines and waits varied widely in Fairfax County. In Reston, reported waits varied from a minute to about 30 minutes at peak time in the morning.
Bulova says she waited just 20 minutes at Villa precinct Tuesday morning at about 8 a.m.
At other locations, though, voters reported waits of over an hour. The last vote in Fairfax County was cast at 10:30 p.m. at the Skyline precinct in Bailey's Crossroads, which means voters in line by 7 p.m. had to wait three-and-a-half hours before finally casting their ballots, county officials said.
“While all together the day went well, I think it would be beneficial to examine what lessons we can learn from the 2012 Election,” Bulova said in a statement. “I plan to present this issue to the Board of Supervisors at our next meeting and suggest the formation of a bipartisan commission to identify ways to reduce lines, decrease wait times, and streamline our election process.”
The next Board of Supervisors meeting takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 20.
John Farrell, Reston resident and general counsel for the Fairfax County Democrats, says he is opposed to a task force. He says the Board of Supervisors has little influence over the state board of elections, but there are changes the BOS is authorized to make that could impact the process immediately.
"A task force is a way to get nothing done for an extended period of time," he said.
He suggests immediate ways the Board of Supervisors can impact the process, such as: redrawing precincts; funds for replacing faulty touch screens with optical scan machines; increasing pay for election officers from $100 to $125 a day; and auditing of the mail-in absentee process.