Countywide

A Fairfax County voter’s guide to the 2023 general election ballot

Voting in the 2023 general election begins tomorrow (file photo)

(Updated at 2:25 p.m. on 11/7/2023) Early voting is over, and Election Day 2023 is less than 24 hours away.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday). Virginia now allows same-day registration, though those voters will cast provisional ballots that are counted and validated later by the Fairfax County Electoral Board.

Mail ballots can be placed at dropboxes at all polling sites throughout the day. They can also still be sent to the Fairfax County Office of Elections (12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 323) but must arrive by noon on Monday, Nov. 13 to be counted. In addition, the voter’s year of birth and the last four digits of their social security number needs to be written on the return envelope in lieu of the previously required witness signature.

As of last Wednesday (Nov. 1), almost 9% of registered voters had voted early in person or returned a mail ballot, amounting to about 64,000 votes, according to Fairfax County election officials. Last time this election cycle came around in 2019, there were 36,584 absentee votes total and an overall 44.3% turnout.

This year’s general election is focused on local and state offices, with every Board of Supervisors, school board and General Assembly seat up for grabs. Vienna is also holding mayoral and town council elections in November for the first time.

Board of Supervisors

Chairman

McKay, the incumbent, was elected in 2019 after serving as supervisor of the Franconia District — then known as Lee District — since 2008. Citing mental health services and pedestrian safety among his top priorities this year, he faces a challenge from Purves, president of the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance and a frequent critic of the county’s taxation and spending practices.

Braddock District

No Republican candidates came forward to challenge Walkinshaw, who also didn’t get pulled into the Democratic primary in June. Chief of staff for Rep. Gerry Connolly before getting elected in 2019, he is once again facing off with independent Carey Chet Campbell, a Green Party member who’s now on his sixth campaign for Braddock District supervisor.

Dranesville District

Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, who’s retiring after four terms in office, has endorsed Bierman as his successor. The McLean resident and former Dranesville District Democratic Committee chair has identified diversifying the local economy, addressing climate change and creating “viable transportation options” as his top priorities.

Bierman is squaring off with a Livingtston Group lobbyist and former Fairfax County Republican Committee first vice chairman. Calling politicians “out of touch” and “out of control” on his website, Ahluwalia lists his key issues as property taxes, public safety, education, recreation and the pay raise approved earlier this year for the incoming board.

Franconia District

When he launched his reelection bid last year, Lusk told FFXnow that he hopes to continue championing affordable housing, full funding for schools, bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements and criminal justice reform.

Affordable housing is also a priority for Beran, who says he founded the advertising company Advertel. Per his campaign website, the Republican candidate is also focused on public safety, education and creating a “Great American Walk of Fame” to honor war heroes, first responders, historic figures and others along Richmond Highway, among other issues.

Welch, a longtime Springvale resident and former federal government employee, told On the MoVe that his priorities, if elected, would be “keeping the tax rate stable, improving public safety and focusing education dollars for the classroom.”

Hunter Mill District

Seeking his second term in office, Alcorn highlights his role in creating the county’s co-responder program and decision not to advance development proposals for Reston’s golf courses on his campaign website, which also lists pedestrian and bicyclist safety, affordable housing and climate change among his top issues.

An entrepreneur who was born in the Soviet Union, Massey says on her site that she decided to run for office to “demonstrate that immigrants from all around the world can and do embrace American conservative values.” If elected, she would support incentives to recruit more police, oppose tax increases and advocate for a limited government.

Mason District

Jimenez and Modglin are vying to replace retiring Supervisor Penny Gross. In his second bid for the Mason District seat, Jimenez is an at-large Fairfax County planning commissioner and executive director of the environmental advocacy group Green 2.0, while Modglin identified himself to Patch as a veteran and consultant with the Fresh Start Refugee Assistance Center.

Mount Vernon District

If reelected, incumbent Storck told On the MoVe that he would advocate for investments in education, public safety, housing, green land use policies and development, the workforce and the future Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit system. Per his website, Hayden is a real estate agent and volunteer who wants to improve school standards, reduce taxes and “modernize” the police department with training and equipment.

President of the Stratford Landing Citizens Association, Morgan’s policy positions include preservation of trees and the tidal shoreline, opposition to the planned homeless shelter in Penn Daw and support for widening Richmond Highway, though he opposes the exclusive BRT lanes.

Providence District

Seeking reelection, Palchik lists her priorities as fully funding Fairfax County Public Schools, reducing the county’s carbon footprint and building a community that’s inclusive, healthy and walkable. Murphy, a realtor for Samson Properties, cites crime, taxes, consumer protection and “parental rights” as his chief concerns.

Springfield District

The only Republican currently on the board, Herrity was first elected in 2007 and advocates for reducing taxes and government spending, road improvements to address congestion and improve safety, and addressing crime. He has frequently brought up “panhandling” as an issue, leading the board to recently approve funding for a study.

Chief technology officer for the consultant Building Momentum and founder of the nonprofit Athena Response, which assists with disaster responses, Vega champions affordable housing, inclusivity, more efficient public transportation, transparency around public safety and other changes in his bid to unseat Herrity.

In a Patch profile, Foley, a former diplomat and intelligence officer, said her top priority, and the reason she decided to run for supervisor as an Independent Green Party candidate, is to ensure the construction of a new Senior Center Without Walls for the Burke and West Springfield area. The county held meetings on a proposed facility at Huntsman Square last month.

Sully District

Smith is campaigning for a third term as Sully District supervisor, listing affordable housing, school funding, road improvements, pedestrian and bicycle safety, and economic development among her priorities.

Elliott, a property manager and McLean High School graduate, says on his website that he’s running to reduce spending and taxes. He also supports “common sense” land development, which would include studying the concept of a Historic Centreville District, and he proposes an ombudsman for the county.

School Board

While the school board races are nonpartisan, candidates can get endorsed by political parties, which is marked in parentheses.

At Large

This crowded race features none of the three at-large incumbents, but it does have two former school board members in Moon and McElveen, who are attempting to regain the seats they stepped away from after 2019.

Braddock District

Instead of seeking reelection as an at-large member, Sizemore Heizer has opted to run for the seat being vacated after three terms by incumbent Megan McLaughlin. A disability advocate first elected in 2019, she faces a mother in DeStefano who says she’s running to “give parents a voice a gain” after getting frustrated by school closures during the pandemic, a sentiment shared by many of this year’s Republican-endorsed candidates.

Dranesville District

A lawyer and parent of three FCPS students, Bartkowski says he represented plaintiffs who challenged the school system’s mask requirements during the pandemic, calling for “academic excellence over ideology.”

Lady is a small business owner and former director of student services for Chantilly High School, according to her website, which points to staffing shortages, achievement gaps and crowding in schools, especially in the Tysons area, as some of the issues that need to be addressed.

Franconia District

A former interpreter and family liaison for FCPS, St. John-Cunning was restored to the ballot last Wednesday (Nov. 1) after getting disqualified a week earlier in a legal battle over her candidacy petition. Her website says she’s committed to “improving academics, the development of the whole child, to supporting educators, staff, parents and community engagement, and assuring equity and inclusion.”

Pinkney, a lawyer, says on his campaign website that he “watched with concern as FCPS lowered academic standards and became distracted by social movements and fads that do not advance education, and that bring division and rancor.” His policy proposals include competitive pay for teachers, a redesign of English as a Second Language programs and technology to “reinforce windows” for security purposes.

Hunter Mill District

One of just three school board members seeking reelection to their current position, Meren cites funding for outdoor classrooms and security vestibules among the accomplishments of her first term on the board, listing learning, employment and safety as her priorities.

Advocating for “world-class education services for children and adult learners,” parental rights and security, Jackson was a central figure in the Coalition for TJ, which sued the school board over changes to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology’s admissions policies, and the right-wing organization Parents Defending Education. He has also faced a defamation lawsuit and dropped an early bid for a school board seat after he was criticized for laughing at an autistic student.

Mason District

Anderson, the incumbent, says on her campaign site that she decided to seek reelection to continue her work on the school board, particularly the fight for equity and “needs-based allocation of resources” such as staff and facilities. A former professor at George Washington and Radford universities, Froemling Ball told the Washington Post that she wants to tackle learning losses, bullying, an audit of the FCPS budget, and teacher and supply shortages.

Mount Vernon District

A lawyer, entrepreneur and former vice president of advocacy for the Fairfax County Council of PTAs., Dunne says his priorities include increasing access to education and addressing learning losses and achievement gaps, according to his website.

“I have fought for our children, families, and educators for 10 years, and I will continue to work tirelessly to strengthen our public schools,” Dunne said in a statement. “I will work tirelessly to ensure the School Board preserves the legacy of excellence while expanding opportunities for all children.”

Zimmerman’s website says she has worked “as an educator in and out of the classroom for 25 years.” Her stated priorities are academic excellence, parents’ rights, safety and security, transparency, fiscal responsibility and compensation.

Providence District

Elected to school board in 2019, Frisch said when announcing his reelection campaign that he wants to “give every student safe and inclusive public schools with exceptional educators and equitable access to the rigorous academics and other opportunities they need to be successful after graduation.”

Sabio’s campaign bio says he has “decades of experience” working in the U.S. Navy, Secret Service and CIA, and his platform focuses on school safety, mental health and academic excellence. He has proposed expanding mentorship and trade and vocational school programs for students.

Springfield District

Anderson is an FCPS graduate working as a contractor for Defense Department youth programs, per her campaign website, which lists funding, special education support, representation for students in military families, and science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) education as her “core issues.”

Bixby-Eberhardt, a real estate agent, says his priorities are creating more opportunities for students, improving student health and public safety, and simplifying the process for getting special education services.

A disability rights advocate and former special education teacher, Tisler wants “to restore academic excellence and the joy of learning for the children of Fairfax County.” Her priorities include “empowering parents,” advocating for “rigorous curriculum and instruction” and reducing bureaucracy to better serve children.

Sully District

Vying to succeed Stella Pekarsky, a nominee for the 36th State Senate District, Dixit is a mother of two FCPS students, and Walsh is a Freedom of Information Act officer who wrote a book about autism that questions the effectiveness of vaccines.

Dixit says she’s running to advocate for a school district “where every student, regardless of their background, has access to high-quality education and support services, while Walsh told the Washington Post that she wants to protect “the innocence and safety of children” from explicit materials and trafficking.

Other

General Assembly

The state races look a little different this year after redistricting in 2021 placed several incumbents representing parts of Fairfax County in the same districts. Many veteran legislators opted not to seek reelection, while others got defeated in primaries.

The county is represented in the House of Delegates by districts 4 and 6-19 and in the State Senate by districts 33 to 39. Sample ballots with the candidates, along with those in the Vienna and Clifton races, can be found on the county’s Office of Elections website.

Circuit Court Clerk

Current Fairfax County Circuit Court Clerk John Frey is retiring after 32 years in the position. He has endorsed Culipher, his chief deputy clerk, over Falcon, the deputy clerk court in Arlington. Both candidates say they would prioritize customer service and accessibility, but they differ on the extent of their support for making public records available online for free.

Commonwealth’s Attorney

Incumbent Steve Descano is the only candidate on the ballot after winning the Democratic primary in June, but his primary opponent, Ed Nuttall, recently endorsed a write-in campaign after getting removed from the Fairfax County Democratic Committee.

Sheriff

First elected in a 2013 special election, Stacey Kincaid is the county’s first female sheriff. She’s seeking a third full term after she defeated primary challenger Kelvin Garcia with 75% of the vote. DeCarlo, who ran for the House of Delegates in 2013, describes himself as an “innovative sheriff for changing times, ” while McMillan is a former reserve deputy sheriff seeking to become the county’s first Black sheriff, per their campaign websites.

(Correction: This article initially said Kincaid was uncontested for sheriff. There’s no Republican candidate, but DeCarlo and McMillian are running as independents.)

Soil and Water Conservation

The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District works with the county to prevent erosion, reduce runoff and generally preserve local water resources, such as Lake Accotink. There are seven people vying for its five-seat, nonpartisan board of directors:

School bond referendum

FCPS is asking voters to approve a $435 million bond referendum that will fund several school construction and renovation projects:

  • Construction — Dranesville, Armstrong, Herndon, Lees Corner, Brookfield, Willow Springs and Bren Mar Park elementary schools
  • Planning/Design — Franklin Middle School and Waples Mill, Cub Run, Poplar Tree, Virginia Run, Centre Ridge, Union Mill, Sangster and Saratoga elementary schools

Approved by the school board on May 25, the project list also includes $9 million to relocate three classroom modulars, $10 million to address inflation-related cost adjustments to previously approved projects and $2.5 million to install security vestibules.