Fairfax County’s New Registrar Meets Challenges in Run-Up to Nov. 8 Election
County is spending $220,000 on 1,900 poll workers; mailing out new voter cards mid-month; coping with redistricting
Fairfax County’s Office of Elections is looking to fill spots for the 1,900 poll workers needed to help out on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8. The county will pay $100 to $200 each—$220,000 total—for what can be a 12-hour day.
To help recruit poll workers, the county is creating videos this week at its Channel 16 station before the big day.
That’s just one of the ways Cameron Quinn, Fairfax County’s brand-new Office of Elections general registrar, is meeting the challenges in her new job one month before an election that features a smorgasbord of statehouse, supervisor, sheriff and school board seats on the ballot.
Quinn, whose career has included a stint as the state's chief election official, has hit the ground running since taking the job last month. A self-described night owl, she said she thrives on the work because it’s never dull. Quinn grew up a Navy brat, living in Carmel., Calif., Washington state, Charleston, Lehigh, Pa., and Alexandria (she attended William Ramsay Elementary School and John Adams Middle School for 4th-7th grades). Then it was on to Naples, Italy for two years and then Panama City, Fla., where she graduated from high school.
She earned a law degree and a master’s degree from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Florida. In addition to her time spent in Richmond, Quinn also has served as the U.S. elections adviser for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and as senior elections policy adviser to the assistant attorney general for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Today, her biggest challenge as the chief of the county elections office, is implementing redistricting changes on top of a new computer system, and then getting that new information out to the voters, she said as she sipped a cup of afternoon coffee.
“It is not unreasonable with a new system that there are going to be some challenges,” she said. The computer system itself is about four years old, but it’s the first time it’s been used with redistricting, said Quinn.
The county is mailing out new voter cards to all registered voters beginning mid-month. “If they haven’t gotten them by Halloween, they should call us,” Quinn said. It’s important for voters to take a good look at the cards, she said. “Even if you’ve never moved, your polling place could have moved, or who you vote for could have changed.”
“We need people to not wait until the last minute” to find out where they vote and who they are voting for, she said.
Quinn also advised voters on Election Day to try to go to their precincts in the morning or mid-afternoon, so as not to get caught in a traffic jam after work.
More Fairfax County voter tips:
- Last day to register to vote: Monday, Oct. 17. If you’re registering in person, the deadline is by 4:30 p.m. If you’re mailing it, it should be postmarked Oct. 17.
- Who’s on the ballot? Look at a sample ballot.
- Verify your voter registration or absentee ballot status: Go to the State Board of Elections site
In-Person Absentee Voting is available at the following satellite locations, Oct. 24-Nov. 5, Monday - Friday, 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.:
- Franconia Governmental Center, 6121 Franconia Road, Alexandria
- Mason Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale
- McLean Governmental Center, 1437 Balls Hill Road, McLean
- Mount Vernon Governmental Center, 2511 Parkers Lane, Alexandria
- North County Governmental Center, 12000 Bowman Towne Drive, Reston
- Sully Governmental Center, 4900 Stonecroft Boulevard, Chantilly
- West Springfield Governmental Center, 6140 Rolling Road, Springfield
Patch Lorton Editor James Cullum contributed to this report.