Friday, October 31, 2008

I Voted Yesteday

Yesterday, after a particularly stressful work conference call, I stepped away from my computer needing a mental break from my job. And so, I drove to the Registrars Office on Sycolin Road and voted absentee-in-person.


View Larger Map

The line to vote was longer than I expected, but in retrospect, I should not have been surprised. Both sides have focused on getting their people out to vote and more and more voters are taking advantage of early voting options. Perhaps this year we will finally discover whether early voting brings new people to the polls or just gets those who would have voted anyhow, and does not actually change participation levels.

It was inspiring to wait in line with my neighbors on a Thursday afternoon. There was the lady using a walker, totally focused on making sure she gets to vote and having the option of avoiding major discomfort on election day. Or the woman behind me who had a nervous grin a mile wide, worried about whether her vote would count. Just from the looks of things, the majority of people in line with me at around 12:30 yesterday were Obama voters.

Voting Line
(The line to vote at the Loudoun County Registrar's Office, October 30, 2008)

When I got to the front of the line and presented my registration card, I asked the count. The lady behind the counter said they were doing around 1000/day total, about 700 at the Sycolin Road location and about 300/day at the satellite location. By my estimates, around 7,000 to 10,000 voters may have cast their ballots absentee-in-person this year. That would be about 10% of all the people who voted in 2006. It looks like all the predictions of high turnout will come true.

I took my ballot into the voting booth room, and as I looked at it I was overwhelmed with emotion. Simply looking at the lines on the ballot, and knowing I was going to be able to vote for Barack Obama, Mark Warner and Judy Feder this year, and that it would really matter was incredible. I was going to vote for a candidate whose own right to vote was only fully established two generations ago. I carefully filled in the bubbles on the ballot with the black pen (go Loudoun for the preponderance of optical scan balloting in elections), and slid it into the machine.

Walking out of the registrars office, a gigantic grin crossed my face. +1 vote for our side in the county both sides have fought for this season.

On Tuesday, I will be working all day at the polls, helping the Democratic Party rise up and assume responsible stewardship of our nation. And I could not be prouder of my vote, my volunteering, my party or my country.

Yes. We. Can.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Regarding Lenah"

What follows is a letter from Dulles Supervisor Stevens Miller to his constituents, about the schools situation along the Rt. 50 Corridor.
Supervisor Miller
Dulles District
October 29, 2008

Dear Neighbors,

At its October 21, 2008 meeting, the Board of Supervisors voted to ratify the Planning Commission’s denial of a permit for a school at Lenah Run. I was with the majority for ratification because I felt it was the right way to vote. I have received many emails from people on both sides of this difficult issue. Some have thanked me and some have expressed unhappiness. I recognize that this issue is personal for many of you. In the past, Dulles South has been overlooked and the residents along Route 50 have organized in order to force schools and other services be built in their area. I want you to know that I absolutely recognize the need in your area. I support these two schools, but not the specific location. I believe we are at a point where Dulles South’s needs are known, and we must now fight for smart choices and not settle for the options immediately in front of us. You have the right to expect more than a school site whose only virtue is that it accommodates a schedule that should never have gotten so far overdue. This is a first-class community and you deserve better. We can and must choose our school sites consciously and strategically.

Based on the information from LCPS, this site was not centrally located to the community it would serve, with most of its students on opening day coming from as far away as Little River, at the county border with Fairfax. This would have meant that students would actually drive past Mercer Middle School and Freedom High School, to reach schools farther away. My office did request that LCPS present us with an attendance zone that did not include Little River, but rather expanded uniformly eastward from the Lenah site. LCPS declined to do so, leaving me with only their original zone to consider. I suspect that a boundary without Little River would have placed Mercer Middle School and possibly even Freedom High School physically within the new Lenah Cluster.

I consider the experience of StoneHill Middle School to be instructive and a useful comparison. In previous versions, the School Board’s CIP indicated that Stone Hill was intended to accommodate overcrowding at Mercer. The School Board chose not to alleviate Mercer as planned. I would have to assume that the fact that so many residents in the Route 50 corridor consider Stone Hill too far away was a factor. Stone Hill remains under capacity as a result and Mercer has grown more crowded. I did not believe that Lenah would have been any better at solving the problem than Stone Hill has been. Based on the numbers presented by LCPS, more than two-thirds of the students at Lenah would have come from Little River or other neighborhoods such as Stone Ridge.

For me, this was never about the validity of building schools in the Transition Policy Area (TPA). The TPA permits those facilities. Those who voted for Lenah because of that one policy, in my opinion, missed a larger point. As presented, Lenah did not meet the General Plan’s objectives to place schools near the students to be served, and direct resources towards existing communities. I am aware that future growth might provide more students to the west, but that is speculative at best, and not supported by existing growth patterns, nor did LCPS give us any predictions as to when those students might arrive. Lenah would have resulted in tens of millions of dollars of public infrastructure being directed into an area prematurely. A location far to the west of its service community would have meant unnecessarily long bus trips, which implies a permanently high operating cost which I believed could be avoided. The Planning Commission’s findings are consistent with my concerns and I found them appropriate for ratification. Accordingly, and because I have always said that the recommendations of the Planning Commission deserve respect, I voted to ratify their decision.

Obviously, any delay in opening needed schools will create problems. I have always known that the most acute issue is the long bus rides some children have to tolerate to get to the schools taking overflow students. I know that our children today have busy and hectic lives. I could not, however, approve a stop-gap whose cost could have run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

I was encouraged when LCPS stated at the October 21 Board meeting that a substantial part of those bus rides is spent traveling amongst stops, rather than making the final run to school. I would expect the creation of an overflow boundary zone, instead of zones that completely overlap each other, to yield a significant reduction in that time. Attendance zones are drawn by LCPS, with public input. I hope parents of affected children will participate in that process. I believe that many of those boundary adjustments could be drawn to keep those that live in the areas surrounding Mercer and Freedom at the schools closest to them.

System-wide, there does remain substantial capacity to take overflow students. While bussing our students is never desirable, I am ready to work with LCPS and the community as a whole to limit this temporary measure to as short an interval as possible. At the same time, I will be asking for LCPS to cooperate with the Board of Supervisors in seeking lower-cost temporary on-site overflow buildings, perhaps with legislative relief to reduce the administrative overhead that adds time to installing such structures. Where limited core services are an issue, I am also ready to work with LCPS in any way that I can to seek new alternatives and to provide relief.

Many of you have written to ask where we will go from here. My focus is on the process for land acquisition. I have suggestions and some of them are mentioned in this email. I will say that I have tried to be proactive throughout this process. I raised my concerns about Lenah early and encouraged LCPS to think about other options. When other sites became available, I took them to LCPS right away. I asked for a land inventory to help lay the groundwork for future site selections. I look forward to working with the School Board.

What the School Board and the Board of Supervisors should not do is continue the processes that led to our current situation. Perhaps in the past economy, or when unbalanced development policies generated sites by proffer, those processes might have functioned. They do not function now. With land at low prices, and owners willing to sell, the time has come to adapt to the present conditions, and to build a better way of finding and buying school sites. It is my hope to explore with both the School Board and Board of Supervisors the idea of strategic land-banking. Perhaps, by suspending large capital projects, such as the proposed GovernmentCenter, we can direct a portion of that money into acquiring land ahead of time giving everyone a chance to know where public facilities are intended. Asset acquisition would be a wise investment and good planning. The time for this discussion will be in the New Year, but I want to begin to raise the idea now.

Regarding the price of the Lenah site, it is true I was disturbed by the disparity between Greenvest’s own claims about the value and the sale price. I wish the School Board had done more to find an acceptable price, if for no other reason than it would have removed another unnecessary complication in the public’s view of this application. Taxpayers deserve good stewardship and government must work to build trust in our fiscal disposition.

I regret that circumstances have us coping with problems of overcrowding and long bus rides. The Planning Commission’s findings seemed accurate to me, however, and I have made the hard choice to reject a flawed attempt at solving those problems in favor of focusing our efforts on a solution that actually meets our needs. I know that my vote has not been popular in some circles and I recognize that some of you strongly disagree with me. I can only say that I believe wholeheartedly in the vote I cast and the most difficult aspect of my decision has been coping with the sense of urgency we all feel by the overcrowding that has been allowed to develop at MercerMiddle School. I made a politically difficult choice that did not sit well with some very well-spoken and passionate residents of my district. I hope that, if we must disagree on this issue, we can respect our collective desire to do what it is best for our community. Going forward, I will redouble my efforts to build a better process, so we won’t be faced with any more choices like this one.

Best Wishes,

Stevens

Monday, October 27, 2008

Stevens Convicted, Idiots Arresed

Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate’s history and a figure of enormous influence in his state, was found guilty on Monday of violating ethics laws for failing to report gifts and services that he was given by friends. - The New York Times
The eldest Republican in Washington, who was third-in-line for the Presidency for a number of years, has been convicted on all counts of - essentially - lying about taking a de facto bribe. In the wake of the Abramoff scandals of 2006 which contributed to the fall of the most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives, the parallel fall of the most senior Republican in the Senate is a stunning reminder of the endemic corruption enabled by the past eight years of misrule. Ted Stevens and Tom DeLay both represent the idea that power and authority is owed to some people, and damn those who say otherwise.

The fall of Ted Stevens, who has served Alaska in Washington since before Alaska became a state should be a ringing call to reform and change up and down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Should be.

But there's a funny thing. Just as the conviction was announced, another announcement came out of our Government.
Law enforcement agents have broken up a plot by two neo-Nazi skinheads to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and shoot or decapitate 88 black people, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Monday.

In court records unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Tenn., federal agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school in a murder spree that was to begin in Tennessee. Agents said the skinheads did not identify the school by name. - MSNBC.com
When you dig into this story, which stole some thunder from the conviction of the most senior Republican in Washington, you discover that the idiots behind this so-called "plot" were two fools barely out of high school. It was less of a "plot" than "bad idea." These would-be sociopaths weren't arrested for the plot, but on a relatively routine gun charge last week. It is only today that the court records were unsealed.

This is not to take anything from the horrific nature of these bad idas, nor to the real threat represented by the fact they were able to collect a few guns to get started. However, this was barely more of a "plot" than the one uncovered during the DNC (if you even remember that one). It seems like the kind of thing that would have been just as good to release a week ago, or a week from today. But for some reason, the ATF announced it today.

I do not like thinking that the ATF released these records today to try to muffle some of the corrupt thunder from the Stevens' trial. I do not like thinking that, but after eight years of manipulating events to serve the Republican agenda, I cannot help it.

We cannot let this conviction go away. It it is an exclamation point on an amazing election season, the cherry on top of the corrupt, crap sundae served to the American people for eight years. America runs the risk of becoming inured to Republican corruption, but each instance is a withering of our system, and each instance will require a strong Democratic majority to overcome.

One week. Then the real work of recovery begins.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wolf's People Cane Feder's People

I wish the headline were a joke.
On Friday, two Feder staffers approached Congressman Wolf in a public location to ask him some questions. Two different individuals who were accompanying Congressman Wolf (staffers? relatives? friends?) assaulted the Feder staffers, as you can see quite clearly in the video. The first Feder staffer was hit with a cane and then punched. The second staffer (as you will see on the video) was pinned to a wall and forcibly held there. All of this took place in the presence of Congressman Wolf, who stood by and did nothing to intervene. - RaisingKaine
Don't believe me?

Here's the video


There is a precendent for his kind of behavior of course.
Brooks said "Mr. Sumner, I have read your speech twice over carefully. It is a libel on South Carolina, and Mr. Butler, who is a relative of mine." As Sumner, who was six feet and four inches tall, began to stand up, Brooks began beating Sumner severely on the head with a thick gutta-percha cane with a gold head. Sumner was trapped under the heavy desk (which was bolted to the floor), but Brooks continued to bash Sumner until he ripped the desk from the floor. By this time, Sumner was blinded by his own blood, and he staggered up the aisle and collapsed, lapsing into unconsciousness. Brooks continued to beat Sumner until he broke his cane, then quietly left the chamber. - Wikipedia
We are better than this. We are better than a Representative who lets his supporters beat and abuse his opponent's supporters in his presence.

It is time for change. It is time to elect Judy Feder to represent us. Vote on Novebmer 4th.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Calculate Your Obama Tax Cut

The Obama campaign has released an online calculator that will allow Americans to calculate their tax cut under his proposed tax plan.
American families are in desperate need of economic relief.

Barack's plan will cut taxes for 95% of working families.
John McCain will provide billions in tax breaks for big oil companies and giant corporations with no relief for millions of middle-class Americans.

Barack is calling for three times the tax cuts for middle-class families.
Calculate your tax cut at:

http://taxcut.barackobama.com/

With our country facing the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression -- over 760,000 jobs lost this year, unemployment skyrocketing, and retirement losses exceeding $2 trillion -- we need to take immediate steps to recover.

Watch an Ohio supporter use the tax calculator to see how much he would save, then calculate your own tax cut and share this message.

Thanks!
It is an amazing thing to see a campaign much such a great use of the tools afforded by the Web and let the world see their math.

The Me Too Republicans Are Coming Out

On Larry King Live tonight Scott Freakin' McClellan endorsed Barack Obama.

With apologies to the Bard, me thinks some of these Republicans doth protest too much. They see their ship sinking, so they try to jump on Sen. Obama's bandwagon.

It's going to be a very very interesting election night. But remember, fight for every vote until the polls close. Leave it all on the road.

The Truth About ACORN

Because the Republicans need an enemy and a boogie man in every election, an organization dedicated for over thirty-five years to the enfranchisement of the underrepresented has been viciously slandered this cycle. Well, the good news is the actual truth about ACORN is starting to come out.
Let’s be clear about one very important thing. The reason ACORN is the focal point of the combined national efforts of the Republicans is because we recently completed the largest non-partisan voter registration drive in U.S. history. We helped 1.3 million low-income people, people of color, and young people complete voter registration applications.

These new voters terrify the GOP so much that they have mobilized the entire machinery of their party, and perhaps even the Justice Department in a sordid replay of the US Attorneys scandal from 2006 to keep these new voters from the polls. - OpenLeft
ACORN is dedicated to the proposition that if you have the right to vote, you should register and use that right. The most under-represented population in terms of registered voters is always those of low incomes and in minority groups. These are citizens whose right to vote is often questioned because they have to move frequently for job or housing reasons, and are not often afforded their right to vote because of overly restrictive registration rules.

Imagine your home was foreclosed upon. Imagine you have faith in our system, and believe that your vote can make a difference in determining whether you and the millions of people like you who have lost their homes can get some relief from the rapacious business practices that landed you in the mess you are in.

Now imagine your right to vote was questioned because you lost your house. Not only have you lost your home, but now you've lost your right to vote! It is repellent behavior, and it is the kind of thing ACORN has fought against. And it is for that reason that the Republicans have branded ACORN enemy number one.

So who is ACORN, and what is this all about? Watch, and learn.



Some very important things to note in any discussion about ACORN and "voter fraud." First, there is only the smallest handful of actual voter fraud cases in the entire country. In fact, there has been a vastly bigger problem with misleading and disenfranchising legal voters than allowing illegal voters to vote. Second, ACORN is legally obligated in many cases to turn in every registration from it receives, even those ACORN itself deems suspect. To blame ACORN for turning in questionable registration forms when it is legally required to turn in every form it receives is more than just ignorant, it is willfully spiteful. Finally, Of the over 1.3 million voter registration cards ACORN submitted, only 1.5% were "suspicious" and ACORN flagged those as such when submitting them (remember, they're legally required to submit ALL of them!) to the registrars in question.

Imagine if only 1.5% of federally backed home loans had been questionable? Or only 1.5% of the assumptions about the Iraq war had been wrong? Or only 1.5% of New Orleans had been abandoned by FEMA during Katrina? In any other field of work, a 1.5% error rate would be remarkably good.

But the Republicans need a boogie man.

Tell John McCain and the Republicans to stop scapegoating ACORN
. Go to www.acorn.org/truth and send them a note. Organizations that advocate for those without voices are always being badmouthed by Republicans, it's up to progressives to stand up and defend our partners in making America a stronger nation.

And Interlude: Candidates as D&D Characters

What if the candidates were D&D characters?
If Palin played D&D, she would insist on being a paladin but would have trouble doing that because of her chaotic-neutral alignment. She would kick the beggars and orphans out of the way so that everyone had a clear view of how large alms she was bringing to the temple. She would have a 19 charisma and an 8 intelligence, and she would go on a quest to raise enough gold to hire Martha Stewart to redecorate the dungeon. "Boy, I'm telling you, those Cormyr insiders may think messy dungeons are okay, but back in Dagger Falls we have down-home values, and we sure do like our clean dungeons, don't we? You betcha! [wink]" - 4th.com

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What Does American Mean?

In a time when the levels of sleaze and slime suffusing American civic discourse are escalating thanks to what passes for campaigning by the Republican party, it is nice to get a reminder of what America really means.



(with a tip-o-the-hat to Michael Fuchs)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Obama in Leesburg Tomorrow

Sen. Barack Obama is coming to Leesburg tomorrow. He'll be giving a speech at Ida Lee Park, in the heart of Loudoun, in the heart of exurbia, in the signal swing district in America.
Change We Need Rally
with Barack Obama

Ida Lee Park
Festival Field
50 Ida Lee Drive, NW
Leesburg, VA 20176

Wednesday, October 22nd
Gates open: 3:00 p.m.
Program Begins: 5:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required; however an RSVP is strongly encouraged. Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
I will be there. I will be there to see our next President tell us about our future, together.

Will you?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Extended Absentee Voting in Loudoun

If you are worried about your commute and long lines on election day, you can absentee vote. And the county is going to make it easier this year.
Commute for work and worried about the long lines on Election Day? Vote via absentee ballot. Loudoun County has just extended these deadlines. Details:

From October 20 through October 31, registered voters may apply for an absentee ballot and vote Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., at the Loudoun County General Registrar's office, 801 Sycolin Road, S.E., Suite 102, Leesburg. The office will also be open on the two Saturdays prior to the election, October 25 and November 1, for absentee voting from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Also from October 20 through October 31, absentee voting will be available at the Senior Center at Cascades, 21060 Whitfield Place in Sterling. The hours will be Monday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., and on the two Saturdays prior to the election from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot by mail is Oct. 28 and to cast an absentee ballot in person is Nov. 1. For absentee voting qualifications and an absentee ballot application, visit www.loudoun.gov/absentee. - Loudoun County
While you're at it, make sure you're registered to vote.

Voting Machines Already Misbehaving

Even before November 4th, Diebold voting machines are making "mistakes"
Three Putnam County voters say electronic voting machines changed their votes from Democrats to Republicans when they cast early ballots last week.

This is the second West Virginia county where voters have reported this problem. Last week, three voters in Jackson County told The Charleston Gazette their electronic vote for "Barack Obama" kept flipping to "John McCain".

In both counties, Republicans are responsible for overseeing elections. Both county clerks said the problem is isolated.

They also blamed voters for not being more careful. - The Charleston Gazette
That is the essential thesis of Republicans: people are dumb and cannot be trusted. They cannot be trusted with the vote, with money, with responsibility. It's up to their "betters" to run things, keep all the money and let good things "trickle down." Of course, these are the same people who believe people should pull themselves up by their bootstraps and that "personal responsibility" is the best policy. And before your brain starts hurting, yes, being a paternalistic and yoyo (you're on your own) Republican at the same time is hypocritical. But then again, all modern conservatism is hypocritical at its core.

The single best observation about these voting machine errors comes from a mailing list I am on:
Has anyone ever heard of a machine "accidentally" switching a vote from a Republican to a Democrat? EVERY time I've read about one of these incidents, it's always been from the Democrat to the Republican.
Curious, isn't it?

Post: Obama Winning the Exurbs

The Washington Post hits the nail on the head as to why Barack Obama is going to win Virginia, exurban voters are turning to the Democratic party this year.
Republicans have long dominated in the fast-growing exurbs, which President Bush won by an even larger margin in 2004 than in 2000. But Democrats made inroads in these areas in the 2006 congressional elections, part of a broader trend that has seen the party gain among college-educated suburban professionals. And this year, many exurbs that grew rapidly in the past decade are being hit particularly hard by the economic downturn.
...
Obama's chances of winning Virginia and its 13 electoral votes depend in part on whether he, too, can carry Prince William and Loudoun, which together grew by 157,000 people in the first five years of this decade. With that growth, the counties have shifted in ways that favor Democrats. Both have diversified, and Loudoun now has rates of educational attainment and household income that far exceed the state average, while its proportion of Republican-leaning working-class voters has fallen. - The Washington Post
Exurban voters have come to realize that their pocketbooks and essential needs trump the false divisions ("Real" America versus "Fake" America) seeded by the Republican party for the past eight years. That division got us years of governmental mismanagement of public resources at all levels. Here in Loudoun, the heart of exurbia, it created a massive budget deficit, even as the largest landowners in Loudoun saw their tax assessments reduced through a questionable process.

I canvassed about 67 houses this weekend, and throughout my walk, people I met cheered the Obama campaign's message and outreach to our community. And I'm not speaking metaphorically. Walking through a neighborhood in southern Leesburg, a lady across the street yelled "which campaign are you with?" I responded "The Democrats!" She cheered, "Woo hoo! Go Obama!" and pumped her fist in the air.

People are energized, and the makeup of outlying suburban areas is changing. This year, the capital of the Confederacy can help hand the White House to an African-American. But more than that, we can elect strong and wise leadership to guide our nation through the rough waters of the current world. I am proud to be a part of that.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

For Those Considering John McCain

Please, watch this. For your kids.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

How To Tighten Loudoun's Budget?

School Board member John Stevens asks a very important question of Loudoun's citizens: How should we tighten the county budget?
Community input is key. Let your representatives know what you're willing to give up in terms of programs and services. This is no time to ask for new expenditures or declare anything off limits. Many people will be happy to suggest things that other people should forgo, but that's not nearly so convincing as saying "I will do without, if it will help the community." That's the kind of service that both Barak Obama [sic] and John McCain have spoken of throughout the campaign. It's the kind of service they have both exemplified with their lives. We all have an opportunity to follow their example, right now, right here at home. - Our Loudoun Schools
With the budget hole Loudoun faces this year (thanks so much previous Board for creating all these costs!) our services are going to be cut. There will be much larger class sizes, fewer police, cuts in road maintenance, and other major impacts on our lives. The question is how to allocate and manage the pain.

We as Loudoun citizens must be prepared for the financial storm coming to our community. And we need to let our elected officials know what we're willing to give up.

Help Prevent Long Election Lines

You, dear reader, can help moderate the expected long lines at the polls on November 4th. The source of the lines is often the wait for a voter to be identified in the books, rather than a wait on the election machinery itself. The election books are "split" according to the number of election officials available to man the polling place. Thus, the more election officials, the more the book can be "split" and the faster the election officials can process voters so they can go vote.

So, if you volunteer to be an election official in November, you'll help move voters through the polls faster, and thus, moderate the lines of people waiting to vote.

What follows is an explanation of what's involved in becoming an election officer provided by Supervisor McGimsey's office.
Requirements for Election Officers
To be an Election Officer, you must be a United States citizen and registered to vote in Virginia.

The polls open at 6:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. As an Officer of Election you must be at the polls from 5:00 a.m. until the polls close, the results are called in and all equipment is packed and ready to return to the Office of the General Registrar. The voter turnout will determine if you leave at 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. Election Officers may choose to work from 5:00 a.m. till the close of polls or may work from 5:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. or from 12 noon until the close of polls and all election records are completed.

The pay for the day is $100.00 for the entire day, $50 for a half-day plus $20.00 for the training session. The training session deals with both general knowledge and setting up and using the machines in an election. Information about the training session will be sent to you prior to the elections.

Time Off From Work
Many employers view this as community service and they may give you a day of leave to work as an Officer of Election. If your company provides this benefit and they need a statement from the Electoral Board, the Secretary of the Electoral Board will provide you with a letter.

Section 24.2-118.1 of the Virginia Code states:

"Any person who serves as an officer of election as defined in § 24.2-101 shall neither be discharged from employment, nor have any adverse personnel action taken against him, nor shall he be required to use sick leave or vacation time, as a result of his absence from employment due to such service, provided he gave reasonable notice to his employer of such service. No person who serves for four or more hours, including travel time, on his day of service shall be required to start any work shift that begins on or after 5:00 p.m. on the day of his service or begins before 3:00 a.m. on the day following the day of his service. Any employer violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor."

Forms
Forms to register as an Officer of Election are available online for you to download, print and fill out.

2008 Officer of Election Forms Packet


Note: The oath in the packet must be taken and signed in front of a notary or at the Registrar's office in Leesburg. Both tax forms (Federal W4 and VA-4) must be completed, even though taxes are not taken out of your pay.

When completed, mail the forms to:

Electoral Board
P.O. Box 31
Leesburg, VA 20178
If you can, please take election day off and help out. I will be volunteering all day at my precinct, handing out materials in support of Judy Feder, Mark Warner and Sen. Obama. One of my best friends is an election chief in Fairfax. He will be running his local precinct for the county, making sure the votes are cast and counted accurately and fairly. (And my friend Ben is simply the most honest man I know. I couldn't be happier to know people in his precinct have someone of his character and qualifications running the poll.)

A special thanks goes out to Supervisor McGimsey for bringing the need for poll workers to the attention of her constituents. Democracy means government by us, and there's work to be done.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Canvass in Arlington

We have canvasses here in Loudoun every weekend. However, if you are in Arlington, you might be interested to know that the League of Conservation Voters is canvassing this weekend.
"On October 11th, join Emmy-nominated actor John Slattery from the hit TV series Mad Men to launch the League of Conservation Voters' independent Northern Virginia campaign to elect Barack Obama, which will continue every weekend until election day. For more information, check out LCV's website at lcv.org/feedback/virginia_canvass.html"
We're fewer than 30 days out. The time has come to press on and make Virginia Blue for President for the first time in forty-four years. It is time for change.

How Far We've Come

Donna Brazile puts where we are in this election, today, in its proper perspective. Please watch, it's worth it.



When what we have to overcome seems insurmountable, it is useful to look what we've overcome before. We have come so very, very far. Only we can hold ourselves back.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Make Palin A Verb

In perhaps one of the funniest ideas since santorum, a friend of a friend is trying to make palin a verb.
Palin (palining, palined):
1. verb. To flub or otherwise stumble in a response to simple, predictable questions in an interview; To give an off-topic and incoherent or syntactically suspect response to a simple, predictable question in an interview; to do likewise in any other human endeavor. E.g., "I don't think I'll get that job, I totally palined the interview."

2. verb. To fabricate an untruth, that is easily verifiable as such (e.g. via the internet search tool Google), in response to a question for which one does not know the answer. E.g., "I asked him about the Bush Doctrine, and he palined it by talking about horticulture."
If you're on Facebook, join the group and spread the word. If you're not on Facebook...why not?

As a bonus, check out this diagram of a Palin sentence.

[update] From the comments, the official Make Palin A Verb website!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Stand Out For Obama

One of the greatest things about being a Democrat in Loudoun these days is the fact that there are other Democrats around, and we aren't afraid of making ourselves known. (In fact, I'm actually wearing a Democratic pin on my shirt today.) To this end, the Loudoun County Democratic Committee is sponsoring an ad in the local papers in support of our Democratic ticket this year, and all Loudouners are invited to put their name on it.
Fellow Loudouners,

Loudoun County is a battleground county in a battleground state and you can help swing the election to Obama-Biden. Whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, we need your help encouraging our Loudoun neighbors to vote and to vote for Obama.

During the last week prior to the election the Loudoun County Democratic Committee will sponsor ads in each of the 5 County newspapers. Full page ads will cost in excess of $10,000. You may remember the ads we ran in 2004. Thank you for your support in that campaign. History has proven we were right then, and we are right now.

We need your help by:

1. Allowing us to use your name in the ad supporting Obama-Biden, and/or

2. Helping us to pay for the ads, if you can. Note that even though may not be able to contribute, we still would really like to include your name. Suggested donation is $25. Any amount would be helpful.

The ad will essentially say four things: Loudoun supports Barack Obama for President; you support Obama; why you support Obama; and vote Tuesday, November 4th.

If you want to help:

1. Complete the information at: http://www.loudoundemocrats.org/?page_id=495

2. Pass this message on to 5 friends.

Again, thanks for your support. The county, Commonwealth and the country deserve better, and YOU can do something about it.

Ray Pelletier
Loudoun County Democratic Committee

PS: Your name in this AD will be a terrific historical testament for your kids and grandkids!

Contributions will be used in connection with a federal election. Not deductible for federal income tax purposes.

Paid for and Authorized by Loudoun County Democratic Committee, www.LoudounDemocrats.com. Not authorized by any candidate or any candidate's
campaign.
Sometimes, a simple statement of solidarity and support can make a big difference. 2008 may be one of those times, so join the LCDC and state your support for a stronger, better and renewed America. State your support for Sen. Obama.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Debate Observation

Apparently, Gov. Palin does not believe in the letter "g" at the end of a word. It may be there on her notecards, or the teleprompter, but she isn't gonna say it, she's gonna keep the faith that there is no g.

Human-induced global warming, and the letter g, two things Gov. Palin doesn't believe in.

An Interlude: Hedge Fund

Strategery Capital Management.

Click through, it's worth it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Coffee with Kelly Burk, Our Leesburg Supervisor

Our supervisor, Kelly Burk, is having a coffee in Leesburg on Saturday to meet with her constituents.
Please join
Kelly Burk
Supervisor (D)
Leesburg District
For
Koffee with Kelly
Saturday, October 4th
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Hosted:
Burnett & Williams
105 Loudoun Street, SE
Leesburg, Virginia

Please vote on November 4th
There are a number of very important and critical issues that the Supervisors have to deal with this year, from a huge County deficit to school construction issues. Leesburg's voters are generally concerned and involved, so come talk to our Supervisor on Saturday, and be part of the solution.