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Volunteer Registrars Register Voters On Route 1

Two local groups are registering voters in our area.

Two volunteer groups are covering ground by registering voters in the Route 1 corridor in time for November’s election.

There are about 10 volunteer voter registration locations weekly on the Route 1 corridor north of Fort Belvoir. Two major groups have coordinated voter registration efforts in the area.

The Fairfax County Volunteer Registrars, a non-partisan group, registers voters at various shopping centers on the Route 1 corridor. Organizing for America is affiliated with the President Barack Obama re-election campaign and has been working in conjunction with the Mount Vernon District Democratic Committee to register voters at the Huntington Metro station and other area shopping centers.  

Both groups have coordinated on training and setting up locations so there is no overlap. There are other groups that coordinate voter registration in the area, including the NAACP, League of Women Voters, and local churches.

Mount Vernon-area resident Mary Paden has been a volunteer registrar since 2004. Over the years, she has volunteered with the Fairfax County Volunteer Registrars, the Mount Vernon District Democratic Committee, and with Organizing for America.

“This is the best year ever in terms of number of sites, numbers of volunteers, and the new restoration of voters rights programs,” Paden remarked.

Fairfax County Volunteer Registrar volunteer Diana Cull says turnout so far this year has been average.

“I’d say it’s average for what we normally get,” Cull said. “Maybe a little bit more because it’s a presidential election year.”

Paden, who is working with both the Fairfax County Volunteer Registrars and Organizing for America this year, says many of her registrations are getting people registered at the right precinct to vote, registering people who moved to Virginia from another state, or first-time voters. Many voters don’t realize that they need to inform the county registrar if they move or change their name. It’s a simple change that needs to be filled out on the voter registration form.

Absentee ballot applications are also available for people who will be out of town during the elections or who are eligible to vote absentee.

“I think it is a good idea to vote absentee if you can,” Paden said. “I remember one election when there was a big storm at evening rush hour that snarled traffic and a lot of people did not get home in time to vote.”

Paden says OFA has been registering between two and five people per hour, but the numbers are higher in Lorton because it’s a more transient area. She expects it to pick up in the fall before the presidential election.

“Some people laughed at me for organizing voter registration training. They said: How much training do you need to fill out a form?  More than you might think,” Paden told Patch.

“First the training instills a sense of responsibility in the volunteer registrars: they have to make sure the forms are filled out correctly, that the person gets a receipt and knows how to follow up if they don't get their Voter Card in the mail, and how to handle and turn in the forms, which are treated as legal documents. You also have to know how to answer voter questions about absentee voting, various deadlines, the new Virginia poll ID requirements, etc.,” he said.

“It’s very rewarding,” Cull said. “People are really thankful we’re there. People who don’t know where to go to register to vote seem to be happy we’re there.”

The Fairfax County Volunteer Registrars schedule is as follows:

June 30, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Giant, Beacon Mall

July 1, noon to 6 p.m.: Belle View Shopping Center

July 2, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Engleside Post Office

July 6, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Engleside Post Office

July 7, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Belle View Shopping Center

July 8, noon to 6 p.m.: Belle View Shopping Center

For a complete schedule, click the PDF attached to this article.

OFA’s voter registration schedule is as follows:

Wednesdays throughout July

10 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Mount Vernon Farmers Market, Sherwood Hall Library

4 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Huntington Metro, lower entrance

Thursdays throughout July

4 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Huntington Metro, lower entrance

Saturdays throughout July

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: AMVETs Thrift Store, 3115 Sherwood Hall Ln.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Dollar Tree, Sacramento Shopping Center

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