School Board, House Candidates Meet October 7

School Board, House Candidates Meet October 7

The Virginia-focused political website Bearing Drift recently posted an interesting projection on this year’s elections in the Commonwealth: a voter turnout rate below 40 percent, perhaps as low as 37 percent. This would be a tad below 2009, and a continuation of the downward plunge in voter participation in Virginia  gubernatorial elections—which haven’t seen 50 percent turnout in more than two decades.

More shocking still are voting records for the 2011 Commonwealth election in which there was no governor’s race—below 30 percent. It means more Virginians use Facebook than vote for the officials who represent them in Richmond or on the school board.

Political analysts cite lower voter enthusiasm for the trend—and point out that in Presidential elections Virginia’s energized electorate has shown up at rates topping 70 percent in four of the last five races. A more often cited reason for staying home on Election Day is not knowing enough about the candidates or the issues.

Okay . . .

For at least two races of local interest, there will be multiple opportunities to learn about the candidates and their ideas. The Clarke County Education Association and E3 Clarke, a community-based forum focused on publication education, will host a candidates’ forum October 7 at 6:30pm in the Clarke County High School Auditorium.

The candidates for the 33rd district House of Delegates and Clarke County School Board have been invited.

In the Delegate race, Berryville resident Mary Costello Daniel faces off against David LaRock of Loudoun County, who unseated Delegate Joe May in the Republican primary.

The school board election for the Berryville District has George Archibald of West Main Street going up against Roberta Lasiter of Lindsay Court—a fascinating race because neither candidate is American born. Whatever your politics, you have to appreciate that both value community democracy enough to get involved in their adopted country—see earlier passage about couch potatoes sitting out elections.

There will likely be other opportunities to hear from the candidates, but the high school auditorium probably has the greatest seating capacity. It should be a source of community pride to fill the place.

The Observer will feature a Q&A in the October edition.