Post #1135: The final Town of Vienna May election.

Posted on May 4, 2021

N.B., That exceeds the population of Herndon because that’s total votes for all open seats, not total voters.

In Post #340, August 2019, I made the case for moving the Town of Vienna elections to November, to coincide with the general election.  If you think that voter participation is a good thing, all you had to do is look to the well-run Town of Herndon to see what happened to voter participation when they did that (above).

In Post #1059, I noted that the Virginia legislature had passed a bill moving all elections to November.  There’s some interesting detail there, including the fact that this was uniformly opposed by all Republican state legislators.

That bill has since been signed by Governor Northam.  As a result, this is probably the last May election in Town of Vienna history.

That, by itself, is one reason to go out and vote today, if you haven’t already.  This will be your last chance to do it, as a Vienna-only event, at the Community Center.  Starting next year, this will be just another part of the November ballot, cast at your normal polling place.

A second reason to vote is that this shift in the election date adds about half-a-year to the terms of the persons elected.  They won’t be elected for two years.  They’ll run for re-election (or not) in November of 2023.

A third reason is that there’s a lot at stake for Vienna.  These people will be the ones to vote on the new zoning for the Town.  As I’ve said before, only the challenger, Dave Patariu, has come out clearly and unambiguously in favor of low buildings and the resulting lower housing density along Maple.  Since that’s what I’d prefer to see come out of the zoning, that’s where I put my vote.  YMMV.

Dave has taken a lot of flak for suggesting “bullet voting”, that is, for voting for Patariu and leaving the other slots blank.  Dave is the underdog here, and that’s a common and rational tactic for the underdog in an election like this.  That’s all spelled out in Post #1125, giving a hypothetical example of a candidate who loses despite being preferred by 60 percent of the electorate.

Not filling in the additional slots really shouldn’t be any harder to understand than “don’t shoot yourself in the foot”.  But somehow, despite this same approach being used by a two-person slate just two years ago, and despite “vote for the incumbents only” being pushed as (effectively) a slate this year, this seems to have prompted some visceral reactions.  That, despite this being  a well-known voting tactic, one that was used before in Vienna elections, and one that is completely rational for the underdog to request.

One nice thing about this process is that the unofficial results will be available soon after the polls close at 7 PM tonight.  You can find the results on the Fairfax County Office of Elections website.  All you have to do is click the link on the page, after the polls close, to see what the current vote count is.