Due to budget shortfalls, Fairfax County cannot afford paper ballots for their optical scan machines, and will only be using their electronic machines - the same kind of machine that crashed in the March 10th special election.
What's more, they will not be opening the Satellite Locations around the county as they did last November. Only the Government Center will be open for In-Person Absentee Voting.
I spoke to Lynne at Chairman Bulova's office to see if they were planning on any measures to direct new funding to the Elections Board for optical scan ballots. She said she will find out and get back to me.
A Wednesday article in the Connection Newspaper sheds some light on the problem:
There's still time to address this issue. I'm no expert on the County budget, but I think this is a priority. What sources are available to find the 29 cents per voter that it takes to produce paper ballots? Can funds be diverted from one place to another? Are there federal dollars available? If we don't find a solution, then the only guarantee of a paper trail will be if each of us applies for and receives a mail-in absentee ballot.
The FCDC is on top of this. I just got an email from them:
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Tell the Board that you believe that elections are a fundamental government responsibility that requires proper funding. Tax rates must be set at a level that will adequately cover the cost of everyone being able to participate in our democracy.
* Leave a message on the budget message line: 703-324-9400
* Call your Supervisor (contact information here)
* Submit comments online here
* Attend a community meeting (schedule & locations)
* Testify at the Board of Supervisors public hearings March 30 - April 2 (sign up here)
With a primary that has the potential of being very close, let's make sure we can know without a doubt who wins.