(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) While Democrats fared well in Fairfax County, sweeping the local delegate races, Virginia will return to a Republican governor with Glenn Youngkin after former Gov. Terry McAuliffe failed to replicate his 2013 victory.
McAuliffe conceded today (Wednesday), congratulating the governor-elect, thanking supporters, and stressing the need to improve Virginia.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay told FFXnow that the election results will not alter the pride that the county takes in its diversity or his commitment to the One Fairfax policy, which advocates for equity.
In a statement, McKay said he will “always fight for the interests of Fairfax County and will work with our statewide leaders to ensure we continue to have one of the best education systems in the country, provide high-quality services, prioritize public health and safety, and ensure Fairfax County is a place where everyone has access to opportunity and growth.”
The Fairfax County Democratic Committee celebrated victories for 15 incumbent delegates as well as newcomers Irene Shin (86th District) and Elizabeth Bennett-Parker (45th District), while calling the overall results “grim.”
“Fairfax County overwhelmingly rejected the message of Youngkin,” FCDC Chair Bryan Graham said in a statement. “…We will continue to reject the anti-immigrant, anti-public education, and anti-equity notions of the Republican Party.”
Statement on yesterday's election results from FCDC Chair @BryanGrahamVA
— Fairfax Democrats (@FairfaxDems) November 3, 2021
FFXnow contacted the Fairfax County Republican Committee for comment but has not heard back as of press time.
The county’s lone Republican supervisor, Pat Herrity, who represents Springfield District, said it’s a good day for Fairfax County residents.
“I think this election marks the beginning of a movement to bring all Virginians together to focus on common sense solutions to everyday problems instead of partisan politics and rhetoric,” Herrity said in a statement. “This includes a new focus on public safety, our education system, the economy and the cost of government.”
Youngkin’s victory will have a direct effect on future Fairfax County elections.
State law dictates that two seats of the county’s three-member Electoral Board represent the political party that won the most recent gubernatorial race. The runner-up party gets the third seat. Board members serve three-year terms with one seat opening up each year.
The board’s duties include administering absentee ballots and conducting elections.
While voting in Fairfax County unfolded smoothly for the most part, technical issues led to a delay in reporting some results from in-person early voting.
Approximately 20,000 electronic ballots had to be re-scanned because thumb drives were corrupted and didn’t work, affecting four machines at voting sites, said Brian Worthy, a spokesperson with the Fairfax County Office of Elections.
“That’s why we have paper ballots,” he said, noting that the backups allowed the rescanning to occur.
Fairfax County Turnout for Democrats Weakens
Turnout in Fairfax County was nearly the same as the last gubernatorial race in 2017, when 56.1% of active voters cast a ballot. Unofficial results from Tuesday showed around 437,000 ballots cast out of over 780,000 registered voters, a 55.99% turnout, according to a county elections report.
While early voting was significant, influenced by a 2020 change in state law to allow no-excuse absentee voting, it failed to reach the level of turnout seen last year, when there was a presidential race on the ballot.
Support for McAuliffe from voters in Fairfax County, the state’s most populous area, was strong, but not quite as robust as it was for previous Democratic candidates, including in the last gubernatorial race and last year’s presidential election.
Fairfax County voters favored McAuliffe with 64.6% of the vote in this year’s general election, whereas they supported Joe Biden’s bid for the presidency in 2020 with a 69.4% majority. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam won Fairfax County in 2017 with 66.5% of the vote.
Once the results are certified, Youngkin will be sworn in for his four-year term on Jan. 15.
Matt Blitz contributed to this report.
Updated on Nov. 9 — The Fairfax County of Elections reported an estimated 26.1% turnout for Election Day, as of 3:45 p.m., pushing the total turnout to 49% overall.
Earlier: About 40% of Fairfax County voters have now cast a ballot in Virginia’s 2021 general election, which will determine the next occupants of the governor’s mansion and the House of Delegates.
More than 170,000 of those ballots came in before Election Day, accounting for 23.3% of the county’s 730,300 active voters, according to the Fairfax County Office of Elections’ last early voting report.
The county registrar is anticipating a 50 to 60% total turnout for this election, Office of Elections spokesperson Brian Worthy confirmed.
With the introduction of no-excuse absentee voting last year, the county has seen a dramatic increase in early voting compared to the last gubernatorial election in 2017, resulting in fewer crowds and lines on Election Day itself.
The Office of Elections estimates that, as of 1:10 p.m., it has seen a nearly 18% turnout since polls opened at 6 a.m. today (Tuesday). Polling sites in different areas of the county reported steady but not overwhelming streams of voters showing up before noon.
We've now had an estimated turnout of 17.89% at polling places today. Combined with our previous 23% turnout from early votes already cast, we're at approximately 40% turnout overall in Fairfax County. Polls are open until 7 p.m.#VAGov #Vote #GOTV #Virginia pic.twitter.com/4JviKDMh7H
— Fairfax County Votes (@fairfaxvotes) November 2, 2021
Around 300 voters had passed through Reston Community Center’s Hunters Woods facility by 10:30 a.m., and Marshall High School in Idylwood saw over 600 voters before 11:30 a.m., according to elections officials at those precincts.
An elections chief at Coates Elementary School in Herndon told FFXnow that more than 500 people had voted there this morning. A volunteer suggested the rainy weather, which forecasts indicate will continue through the afternoon, could be affecting turnout.
One resident who stopped by Coates to vote with his daughter cited his desire to support local schools as a motivating factor, with a bond referendum that would enable Fairfax County Public Schools to spend $365 million on renovation projects on the ballot.
Kishore Sadala, who has lived near Coates Elementary for over a decade, said he wanted to vote out of a sense of civic duty.
After moving back to Virginia from Maryland to care for her parents, Indya Gordon says she felt it was important to vote due to the more unpredictable nature of Virginia’s elections, with this year’s gubernatorial contest expected to be a nail-biter.
“I think this is one of the most important elections of our time,” she said after voting at Coates Elementary School.
One of only two states with statewide offices on the ballot this year, Virginia is being treated as a bellwether for the national political mood and potential foreshadowing for next year’s Congressional mid-term elections by both Democrats and Republicans.
In addition to choosing either Terry McAuliffe or Glenn Youngkin as governor, voters are deciding the state’s next lieutenant governor, attorney general, and House of Delegates, where all 100 seats are up for election.
Polls remain open until 7 p.m.
The Fairfax County Office of Elections notes that results will be reported slightly differently than they have been in the past.
In accordance with a new state law, results from mail-in ballots will be released first, followed by early vote totals. The results will be updated throughout the night as precincts tally votes cast in-person on Election Day.
While the majority of votes are expected to be included in tonight’s unofficial results, mail-in absentee votes are accepted as long as they arrive by noon on Friday (Nov. 5), so the results will be incomplete.
In addition, the Office of Elections will only be reporting countywide vote totals for each candidate, rather than breaking the results down by precinct. Precinct-level results can be found instead through the Virginia Department of Elections.
“Because precinct level results are still available on the state’s website, we’re focusing on what most people are interested in: the total votes for each candidate — in other words, who’s won and lost,” Worthy said. “However you’ll also see the breakout for each candidate for early and mail-in votes.”
David Taube and Jay Westcott contributed to this report.
Today is a big election day for Virginia and Fairfax County, with the eyes of the nation on the Commonwealth as voters select a new governor and other state leaders.
What’s on the Ballot
Voters will determine the state’s next governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general as well as all 100 delegates in the General Assembly. Fairfax County also has a school bond referendum.
- Terry McAuliffe (D)
- Glenn Youngkin (R)
- Hala Ayala (D)
- Winsome Sears (R)
No matter who is elected, the winner will make history as the first woman of color to hold the second-highest office in the Commonwealth.
- Mark Herring (D)
- Jason Miyares (R)
Herring is vying for a third term, while Miyares could become the first Latino to hold the post in Virginia.
In races covered by FFXnow sister sites Reston Now and Tysons Reporter, long-time incumbent Ken Plum (D) is being challenged by Matt Lang (R) to represent Reston in the 36th District. At one point this summer, Lang was outraising Plum, but that seems to no longer be the case.
In the 86th District, which runs from Chantilly through Herndon to Route 7, Irene Shin (D) is taking on Julie Perry (R) after ousting incumbent Ibraheem Samirah by just 230 votes in June. Perry is a high school history teacher who was accused of making anti-transgender remarks earlier this fall.
Incumbent Kathleen Murphy (D), first elected in 2015, is again being challenged by Gary Pan (R) in the 34th District, which contains Wolf Trap, Great Falls, McLean, and part of Loudoun County. This is a rematch from 2019, when Murphy won with about 58% of the vote.
While the 48th District is primarily in Arlington, it also includes southern McLean. There, incumbent Rip Sullivan (D) is being challenged for the first time since he was elected in 2014 by Republican nominee Edward Monroe (R).
Other Fairfax County delegate races include:
- District 37: David Bulova (D), Kenny Meteiver (R)
- District 38: Kaye Kory (D), Tom Pafford (R)
- District 39: Vivian Watts (D), Maureen Brody (R)
- District 40: Dan Helmer (D), Harold Pyon (R)
- District 41: Eileen Filler-Corn (D), John Wolfe (R)
- District 42: Kathy Tran (D), Edward McGovern (R)
- District 43: Mark Sickles (D), Brenton Hammond (R)
- District 44: Paul Krizek (D), Richard Hayden (R)
- District 45: Elizabeth Bennett-Parker (D), Justin Maddox (R)
- District 49: Alfonso Lopez (D), Timothy Kilcullen (R), Terry Modglin (I)
- District 67: Karrie Delaney (D), Bob Frizzelle (R)
A $360 million school bond is also on the ballot in Fairfax County. If voters approve it, the money will go towards the renovations of more than a dozen schools.
How to Vote
ExpressVote, a touchscreen system that the county has used for early voting since 2014, is available for those with disabilities but not for the general public today, Fairfax County Office of Elections spokesperson Brian Worthy says.
Masks are still required for voters and staff at polling places. However, those who are not wearing masks will still be able to vote, Worthy confirms.
About 165,000 votes were cast early by mail or in-person, according to Worthy. That’s approximately 22.5% of the 730,000 active voters in Fairfax County.
It’s a high rate of early voting, Worthy says, though the county is still expecting turnout overall to be about 50% as initially predicted in September. The county elections office is preparing, however, for a potential turnout of 75%.
In 2017, Virginia’s last gubernatorial election, voter turnout was approximately 56%.
November is on the horizon, and in Virginia, that means it’s almost time for another Election Day.
This year, voters will determine the Commonwealth’s future for the next four years, casting ballots for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and all 100 seats in the House of Delegates.
In Fairfax County, the ballot also includes a $360 million question about school bonds that, if approved, will fund more than a dozen renovation projects.
Election Day polls aren’t set to open until 6 a.m. Tuesday (Nov. 2), but early voting has been underway since Sept. 17. Though the deadline for mail ballot requests passed on Oct. 22, Fairfax County’s 16 early voting sites will remain open through 5 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 30).
With anyone now allowed to vote absentee without needing an excuse, the county office of elections has reported a strong turnout for in-person early voting so far, including on the first Sunday that it has ever offered early voting. The county has also received 2.5 times more mail ballots than in the last gubernatorial election in 2017.
We’ve hit a #earlyvoting milestone for the Virginia governor's race with over 100,000 votes cast! To be precise, just over 103,000 have voted in person or by mail so far in Fairfax County.
— Fairfax County Votes (@fairfaxvotes) October 26, 2021
With polls suggesting a tight race between Terry McAuliffe (D) and Glenn Youngkin (R) for the governor’s seat, have you been motivated to cast your ballot already, or are you waiting for Election Day, which will be a state holiday for a second consecutive year?
Although Election Day is still more than six weeks away, Fairfax County residents can start casting their ballots when early voting begins tomorrow (Friday).
The county will have three sites open for voting in the Nov. 2 general election for Virginia’s governor and other state offices: the Fairfax County Government Center, the Mount Vernon Governmental Center, and the North County Governmental Center.
The county anticipates a turnout of about 50% for this year’s general election, according to county spokesperson Brian Worthy. But the Office of Elections is prepared for a turnout of 75%.
In the last governor’s race in 2017, turnout stood at around 56% when Gov. Ralph Northam — who cannot seek re-election due to term limits — ran against Republican nominee Ed Gillespie and Libertarian Party candidate Clifford Hyra.
Worthy tells FFXnow that the county is now adept at running elections during the pandemic.
“We have been holding elections since the pandemic and there is no significant impact on our operations at this point,” he said.
Terry McAullife (D) and Glenn Youngkin (R) are running to succeed Northam as governor, while Hala Ayala (D) and Winsome Sears (R) are running for lieutenant governor. Republican Jason Miyares is challenging incumbent Mark Herring, who is a Democrat, for attorney general.
All 100 House of Delegates seats are also up for grabs, with Democrats seeking to maintain a majority in the legislative chamber for the first time since 1999. Sample ballots for each of the Fairfax County races can be found on the Office of Elections website.
Finally, the ballot includes a bond question concerning $360 million in capital improvement bonds for Fairfax County Public Schools.
How to Vote
The Fairfax County Government Center will be open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., while the other sites will be open from noon to 7 p.m. on weekdays. All sites will be open on Saturday, Sept. 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
All registered Fairfax County voters can vote early. The last day of early voting is Oct. 30.
This year, county officials are encouraging residents to vote early using an electronic ballot-marketing machine called an ExpressVote.
The system allows voters to use the machine’s touchscreen instead of filling out a ballot by hand. Ballots are then printed by the machine, a system that county officials say will prevent voters from missing any races on the ballot or accidentally voting for more than one candidate per office.
An additional 13 early voting locations will open up on Thursday, Oct. 21. Those sites will operate from noon to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Weekend hours will be added later: from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 23 and 30, and from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 24.
Voters must bring identification when they vote, though a photo ID like a driver’s license is no longer required. Accepted forms include a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or another government document with the voter’s name and address.
Voting by mail, an option now open to all registered voters, will also kick off tomorrow. Requests to receive a mail-in ballot must be received by Oct. 22.
Masks are required for voters and poll workers at polling places, according to Worthy. Voters who do not wear masks will be able to vote outside.
“Everyone will be given the opportunity to vote,” he said.
The county is still looking for bilingual election offices who speak Korean or Vietnamese in addition to include. Bilingual speakers can apply online to become election officers until Oct. 8.
In a meeting room that more resembles a college classroom than the stateliness of the board auditorium just two floors down, 20 volunteers are redrawing the lines that divide and define Fairfax County.
Appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on June 22, the 2021 Redistricting Advisory Committee (RAC) has been meeting regularly since late July, but members got their first opportunity on Monday (Sept. 13) to present the district maps they’ve created to determine the county’s leaders for the next decade.
Some members suggested limited changes, moving the Fort Buffalo precinct across the district line from Providence to Mason, for example. Others crafted entirely new districts around Lorton or a swath of Herndon and Chantilly east of Dulles International Airport.
Fairfax County has developed a publicly available mapping tool that allows communities to be realigned with a simple click of a button, but each alteration could have significant implications for what the county will look like in the future.
“These are not just lines on a map,” said Linda Smyth, who now represents Providence District on the RAC and previously represented it on the Board of Supervisors. “It’s about neighborhoods. It’s about people.”
The pressure on this year’s redistricting effort is even higher than usual as the county races to complete a year-long process that has been condensed into roughly five months, thanks largely to coronavirus-related delays in the release of data from the 2020 Census.
The RAC voted on Monday to request a timeline extension after complications in getting adjusted Census data from the Virginia Division of Legislative Services further delayed county staff’s ability to build the online mapping tool that the committee needs to do its work, according to Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw.
Under the schedule originally approved by the Board of Supervisors on June 8, the RAC was expected to finish its work and turn in all the map options they think the board should consider on Friday (Sept. 17).
However, the committee didn’t get the new Census population and demographic data until last Friday (Sept. 10). Prior to that, members had been using old data for training purposes, RAC Chairman Paul Berry says.
“We got the numbers much later in the calendar year than we expected. We would’ve been doing this in the spring if not for the pandemic,” Berry said Monday night. “…The board and Chairman [Jeff] McKay felt it was prudent to give everyone more time to do the work, because we’re all volunteers at the end of the day.”
After a motion put forward by Walkinshaw, the board voted unanimously on Tuesday (Sept. 14) to give the RAC until Sept. 28 to finalize its maps. The initial Sept. 10 deadline for members of the public to submit their own proposed maps has also been extended to this Sunday (Sept. 19).
Board members acknowledged that the new timeline remains less-than-ideal, giving the RAC under two weeks to evaluate its own maps and those from the public, but flexibility is limited by state law, which requires localities to send a redistricting plan to the attorney general for approval by the end of the year. Read More