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Morning At The Polls: Slow Start for Vienna

Low turnout for uncontested race

Few voters turned out for early Tuesday morning,  a turnout likely hurt by pouring rain in the early hours of voting but largely caused by the uncontested race, candidates said

As of 9:30 a.m., just 74 voters had cast their ballots.

Last year, 2,520 votes were cast among three candidates.

Poll workers said they weren’t likely to reach 10 percent of the town’s registered voters in this year's elections.

Laurie Cole, Edythe Kelleher, Mike Polychrones and Jane Seeman are all seeking re-election to their council and Mayor seats, respectively. They’ve all served for at least a decade.

Compared with highly contested races in Herndon and Fairfax City, Vienna’s election is quiet this year. Voters came more steadily to the polls last year, when four candidates ran for three open council seats.

Still, candidates hoped voters would come out to support them and the town’s work. Mayor Jane Seeman said she sent out about 300 paper mailers, emailed her entire contact list and publicized the election on Facebook and through the town’s newsletter.

“People should vote anytime they have the option,” Polychrones said

Polls will be open until 7 p.m. tonight.

Patch will provide updates throughout the day, and results later tonight

Wien May 01, 2012 at 09:10 PM
I am by and large please with the Town's continuing operations and government; some things could be done better, and some things need improvement, as with any elected group, but in general, things aren't going horribly wrong or there'd be a line of folks ready to run against them. But I disagree with Polychrones notion that people should vote anytime they have the option. Unlike elections where a certain % of voters is required or where a lack of votes is considered a lack of confidence, I don't see low voter turnout to an uncontested town election to be a vote of no confidence. Voting in an uncontested election, in fact running an uncontested campaign, is simply logistically and economically silly. Commuting before/after work is already a disaster, so if your work hours aren’t convenient for voting, you have to alter them to factor traffic and voting. If you’re not a salaried employee, you may have to take time off to vote (with no options but the incumbents). It’s not worth the time (or even the gas money) to get to a polling place for an uncontested election. I understand that politicians still run campaigns and print signs for uncontested elections b/c they want to keep their name relevant and in the news, but even that seems like a waste of resources. I wish elections would always have multiple candidates, just to keep incumbents more accountable, but if uncontested...sorry, I'm can't justify giving up billable hours to "vote" the one choice.

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