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Voting and 2011 General Election Archived Discussion Room

Fairfax County, Virginia

Voting and 2011 General Election

Due to the recent redistricting, some polling places have changed, as well as their state legislative district and/or county supervisory district. Also, volunteer elections officers are needed, especially bilingual Spanish speakers. General Registrar Cameron Quinn answered your questions online about the upcoming Nov. 8 General Election.

Cameron Quinn : Good morning, I am excited to be the new General Registrar for Fairfax County and look forward to serving the voters of Fairfax County. We are fortunate to have many excellent, long-serving staff in the Office of Elections. Let's get started answering your questions about the Nov. 8 General Election.

Anonymous User : Why was my polling place changed?

Cameron Quinn : Every 10 years, the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of Virginia require redistricting for county, state and federal districts, because of population changes and increases.  More polling places are needed and some voters need to be shifted in order to equalize the number of voters in each district. In fact congressional districts cannot vary by more than one voter. This means even if you didn't move, either your polling place may have changed, or may have different choices for whom to vote since the last election. It is critical that you check your voter card as soon as it arrives and not wait until Election Day. Voter cards have been mailed today and should arrive at your home soon. If you have not received your card by Halloween, you should be "scared" ;-)... and should immediately call us at 703-222-0776, TTY 711. Additionally, if you have any questions about the changes on your card, you should call us as soon as possible. That way, if there are any errors, they can be corrected before Election Day.

Harley : Who is responsible for redrawing the the political bounderies?

Cameron Quinn : The General Assembly is responsible for both state legislative and congressional redistricting.  Local districts are redrawn by the Board of Supervisors,which also is responsible for any changes in precinct boundaries and approves polling place locations.

sophia : The road signs! They are everywhere, blocking my view, creating a distraction and now they are falling over and landing on the road. I fear that the metal frames will puncture my tires or worse! Who gave these politicians permission and where can I get assistance to have them removed? Isn't their some type of enforcement?

Cameron Quinn : Road signs are a perennial frustration for residents, but the First Amendment provides for free speech, including political speech, which is an important part of our democracy. Fairfax County has enacted some restrictions on the signs. Questions about signs placed in the right-of way should be directed to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). For further information, go to

polling place : Where can I find information to determine if my voting precinct has been changed by redistricting?. Thanks - Homer

Cameron Quinn : We are mailing voter information cards today, which will have this information. Another excellent resource to confirm your voting information is through the

Virginia State Board of Elections website, which allows you to confirm that your name, address and other information is correct, as well as determine your current voting precinct, and can provide driving directions. A third alternative to determining your precinct and polling place is Fairfax County's My Neighborhood, which provides the polling place location, including address and a map, but does not provide driving directions.

Anonymous User : Where is my new voting card, I understand I was to get one?

Cameron Quinn : Literally, these are going in the mail today! It may take a few days to arrive. Again, do not hesitate to call if you have not received it by Halloween - 703-222-0776, TTY 711, or you can email us at If you do not receive your voter card PLEASE call, as this may indicate an incorrect address (not all voters remember to let us know when they move) or that you are not registered to vote.

bilingual : Do you need Chinese speaking volunteers?

Cameron Quinn : YES! We need volunteers, regardless of alternative language abilities, as we are still short of volunteers this year. We also strongly encourage any kind of bilingual volunteers, but especially those who speak Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese, given the needs of some of our residents. All polling place volunteers must be registered voters in Virginia, but are not required to be Fairfax County residents. If interested, please call us at 703-324-4735, TTY 711, or email us at For further information, visit

Anonymous User : Why is the county spending money on election material in Spanish?

Cameron Quinn : As of last Thursday, Oct. 13, we were notified by the federal government that under the Voting Rights Act, we are now required to provide language assistance to our Hispanic citizens, for whom English is their second language. The determination is based on a complicated formula, that even many lawyers don't understand. Once notified, there is no appeal from the determination, by law. The determination will be revisited in a few years - and this may change again. We may be required to add other languages, or in fact, no longer be required to provide Spanish, depending on changes in our population in the intervening years. We were the only jurisdiction in Virginia that met the determination criteria. Montgomery County, Maryland also is required to provide language assistance in the D.C. metro area.

Jennifer : Who do I call to voice my concerns regarding Section 203 language requirements?

Cameron Quinn : This is a federal requirement enacted by Congress and reauthorized in 2007. If you have questions or comments regarding the language requirements, you may wish to call your U.S. Congressman or Senators. That contact information is available through Fairfax County's My Neighborhood, along with other useful information and links.

Pete : Why are polls only open until 7 p.m.? Working in DC makes it very hard to get to a poll on time in case of a major Metro delay. 8 p.m. seems more reasonable.

Cameron Quinn : Some election requirements are set by federal law, but most, like this one, are state law requirements. If you want this to change you should contact your state delegate and/or state senator. Since, however, this is a statewide requirement, others may not agree the need is sufficient to extend the Election Day. We already have a hard time recruiting election officers across the state as it is currently a very long day, starting at 5 a.m. and sometimes ending as late as midnight. Besides going to your polls before going to work, since you work in D.C., which is outside of Fairfax County, under state law you may choose to vote absentee. There are a number of other reasons that will allow voters to vote absentee. For more information go to

Cameron Quinn : It has been a pleasure answering voters' questions, I'm sorry we were not able to get to all of them. If you have further questions, please feel free to call us at 703-222-0776, TTY 711, or email us at Two final comments for this election. First, PLEASE review your voter card when it arrives or call us if you don't receive it by Halloween. Second, please serve your community and help ensure a fair and accessible election by volunteering to be an election officer!