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Update: Additional county satellite-voting option expected

Arlington officials likely to add Long Bridge Park facility to Madison, Walter Reed centers

[Update, 7/20/24:]

Arlington County Board members have slated consideration of this item at their July 22, 2024, meeting.

County officials said the cost of adding the new satellite-voting center would be about $125,000 this election season.

[Original coverage, 7/10/24:]

Arlington residents likely will have a third satellite-voting option leading up to November’s election.

Arlington Electoral Board members on July 9 formally endorsed a proposal to add the Long Bridge Park aquatics center as an early-voting satellite site. If the addition is approved by County Board members later this month, it will join Madison and Walter Reed community centers in hosting early voting starting in mid-October.

Adding the Crystal City location would be a benefit to residents in a fast-growing area of the county, election officials said. Having more people voting early will reduce waiting times for those casting ballots at polling places in Crystal City and vicinity on Nov. 5.

“2012 lives in my memory,” said county elections director Gretchen Reinemeyer, looking back to a year when Election Day lines at many precincts – including those in Crystal City – were exceptionally long.

With recent growth in that part of the county, “it’s only gotten more crowded,” Electoral Board vice chairman Dominick Schirripa said.

Having a third satellite center also could reduce stress on the main early-voting site, the county government’s headquarters in Courthouse. That location can get crowded during peak early-voting times.

“There’s only so many voters I can push through,” Reinemeyer said.

Election officials and county staff considered use of Arlington Mill, Lubber Run or Langston-Brown community centers as early-voting options, but each had down sides that led to the selection of the Long Bridge Park venue.

Under state law, a locality’s governing body has power to determine if satellite-voting facilities will be used, and where they will be located. But local elections officials, who do not report to those governing bodies, are responsible for setting dates and times those sites will be in use.

At their July 9 meeting, Electoral Board members endorsed a plan to have the satellite centers open Oct. 16 and be in operation weekdays from 2 to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.

The locations proposed by county officials and Reinemeyer’s suggested hours “are reasonable,” Electoral Board chairman Richard Samp said.

County Board members included funding for the additional voting location in the fiscal 2025 budget adopted in the spring.