By Keith Damon
Elections are one thing that we can count on every year in Virginia and Fairfax County. But elections do not just happen. The Fairfax County Office of Elections has the responsibility for planning the logistics and providing the equipment and materials for each election. However, to make elections work, volunteer Election Officers are required to man all of the 243 precincts in Fairfax County. We have a severe shortage of Republican Election Officers.
The Code of Virginia stipulates, to the extent possible, that there be an equal number of Republican and Democrat Election Officers at every precinct. For the 2019 General Election approximately 2,250 Election Officers were needed but we were only able to fill 830 of the 1,125 slots available to us. The difference was made up by Independents and Democrats. While the vast majority of the Election Officers perform in a non-partisan manner regardless of their designated party, we believe it is prudent to have parity with the Democrats at every precinct.
We have no direct concern for providing Republican Election Officers for the upcoming Democrat Party-only Presidential Primary on March 3 although some of our Officers have agreed to serve. However, we will be having a Republican Party-only U.S. Senate Primary on June 9 and the 2020 Presidential Election will be on November 3. We need a full contingent of Republican Election Officers for these elections.
It is easy to become an Election Officer. You may visit the application portal at http://www.vote4fairfax.com/apply or call the Fairfax County Office of Elections at 703-324-4735 to start the process.
An Election Officer in Fairfax County must be a registered Virginia voter and be available to serve on election day from approximately 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Your responsibilities will include setting up voting equipment, checking in voters in an electronic poll book, providing assistance to voters in using the voting machines and tabulating the results at the close of the polls. An Election Officer is paid $175 for working a full Election Day with an opportunity to become a Assistant Chief ($225) or Chief ($250) after you have worked through one general election. Every attempt will be made to assign you to your “home” precinct although the Office of Elections may need to assign you to another precinct, as needed. You will be provided with the relevant training to perform your duties. The Fairfax County Republican Committee will be provided with your contact information for the purpose of confirming your political party affiliation.
The Republican Party needs you to become a Republican Election Officer so that we can be fully represented for the critical upcoming 2020 elections.
Keith Damon is the Fairfax GOP’s elections support director.