In a bid to make voting in the West End faster, the Office of Voter Registration and Elections is planning to add two new precincts to the neighborhood.
Ahead of the planned increase to six precincts, aimed at decreasing the number of voters per precinct in the presidential election in the fall of 2024, the city is asking for public feedback.
“This preemptive measure is being undertaken in anticipation of a likely increase in voter turnout during the upcoming presidential elections that could push existing precincts past the 4,000-voter threshold, triggering a legal requirement to redraw boundaries,” the city said in a press release sent out today (Monday). “By doing so now, the elections office can gather more public input and prepare better.”
There are four precincts west of I-395 serving the West End neighborhood, shown below.
Three of the four existing precincts currently handle about 5,000 registered voters each, the city says.
Polling placing can service more than 5,000 people, General Registrar Angie Maniglia Turner tells ALXnow. During a presidential election, however, if more than 4,000 people come to vote, then the legal requirement to change the boundaries kicks in.
The two proposed precincts would be located at the newly renamed Redella S. “Del” Pepper Community Resource Center at 4850 Mark Center Drive and at The View Alexandria at 5000 Fairbanks Avenue, according to a map included in an online survey.
The city emphasized that the planned changes will only alter where voters go to vote on election day — not the candidates that appear on the ballot.
“The changes would take effect beginning with the March 2024 Presidential Primary,” the survey says. “These changes would NOT impact the November 2023 General Election.”
The proposed map was selected by the Electoral Board for public feedback this June, according to a timeline in the survey.
“Voter accessibility, future population growth, and voter convenience were prioritized,” the survey said.
The Electoral Board will review feedback in September and submit its plan either in September or October.
A City Council vote on the changes is set for November. If approved, the new map would be submitted to the Office of the Attorney General for approval.
Affected voters would be notified of the changes in February, if the office approves the new map.
Community members can provide their feedback in-person at the Del Pepper Community Resource Center from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 8.
The online survey is open until Aug. 21. It asks respondents to share where they live, how they vote and how the changes would affect their ability to vote. There is also space for open-ended comments.
Those interested can also request a physical copy of the survey by reaching out to the Office of Voter Registration and Elections at 703-746-4050.
Hallie LeTendre contributed to this report
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