Virginia voters face array of choices
by Tom Joyce Staff Reporter
While political activity in North Carolina is limited to municipal elections, that’s not the case just across the state line in Virginia where political interest is running high.
Voters will choose a new governor and other top state officials in Tuesday’s election in the Commonwealth, along with candidates for local offices.
One reflection of the keen citizen interest is a 60 percent voter turnout forecast in Carroll County.
Patrick Meals Tax
In addition to the balloting among candidates, a hot topic in Patrick County which citizens will decide is a proposal to impose a 4 percent meals tax on “food and beverages sold for human consumption by a restaurant.”
A local taxpayer watchdog group is opposing the ballot question on the grounds that the county government has built a “rainy day savings fund” of $3 million and hasn’t demonstrated a need for extra revenue.
County officials have said the meals tax proceeds could stave off property tax increases, but the watchdog group contends that existing budget waste has not been eliminated.
One concern raised is that while an occupancy tax tends to impact travelers, the meals tax would hit local residents who patronize restaurants. The tax also would apply to fundraising activities of volunteer fire departments, churches and similar organizations if they hold more three events per year at which food is sold
While the county seat of Stuart has a meal tax, the rest of the county does not.
Patrick voters rejected a countywide meals tax in 2009.
Patrick Board Races
Also in Patrick County, voters in the Dan River District will make choices for that district’s seats on the county board of supervisors and school board.
In both cases, political newcomers are seeking to unseat incumbents who are completing their first terms.
Roger Hayden is being challenged by Tom Bishop in the supervisor’s race, with school board member Quinn Brim vying for a new four-year term against Kandy Marshall Burnett.
An incumbent Virginia House of Delegates member who represents Patrick, Henry and Franklin counties, Charles D. Poindexter, a Republican, is unopposed for a new term.
Polling locations in the Dan River District include the Ararat Ruritan Club building, Willis Gap Community Center and Claudville Community Building.
The will be open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Registered voters in Patrick County also have the option of in-person absentee voting today at the office of the county registrar in Stuart, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
That service is available for those who have a need to vote absentee, such as being out of the county on Election Day, or who are disabled.
In the local Fancy Gap District in Carroll County, incumbent county school board member Joey Haynes is trying to hold on to his seat against Phillip Berrier, a former member of the board.
Meanwhile, Phil D. McCraw, the incumbent Fancy Gap District supervisor, is unopposed on the ballot.
Carroll voters also will help choose a replacement for Del. Annie B. Crockett-Stark, who represents Carroll and three other Southwest counties in the Virginia House of Delegates. Crockett-Stark, a Republican who is 70, is retiring.
Vying for her seat are Democrat Jonathan Lee McGrady, Republican Jeffrey L. Campbell and Barbara T. Hall, an independent. McGrady, of Hillsville, is the only local resident involved.
Polling stations in Carroll will be open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., with in-person absentee voting also available today at the county government complex in Hillsville, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Voting precincts in the Fancy Gap District include St. Paul School, the Lambsburg Community Complex, the Mount Bethel substation of the Cana Volunteer Fire Department and Fancy Gap Elementary School.
The 60 percent voter turnout prediction in Carroll is based on absentee ballots received in the county registrar’s office, which totaled nearly 350 as of midday Friday.
Also on the ballot in Carroll and Patrick counties is a race for governor between Democrat Terry R. McAuliffe, Republican Ken T. Cuccinelli II and Libertarian Robert C. Sarvis.
A battle for lieutenant governor includes Democrat Ralph E. Northam against Republican E.W. Jackson.
Attorney general hopefuls on the ballot are Mark R. Herring, a Democrat, and Republican Mark D. Obenshain.
Virginia residents are required to present a form of identification when voting, which can include a valid driver’s license, voter-registration card, military or student ID, concealed handgun permit and others.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or email@example.com.
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