[LWV] League of Women Voters®
of Alexandria

Testimony 11 2009

Testimony by Katy Cannady before Alexandria City Council, November 21, 2009, opposing changing the date of local elections to November to coincide with General Election.

Testimony Before City Council November 21, 2009

I am Katy Cannady. I am the President of the Alexandria League of Women Voters and speak to you on behalf of the League. I am here to support a basic League principle + that Americans should not be impeded in their exercise of the right to vote.

I was expecting to participate in a public hearing today on charter changes regarding our 2012 election. In preparation for that, I called Tom Parkin, the registrar of voters for Alexandria. He told me that if he had to conduct the 2012 election with the Presidential race, Council seats and School Board seats all on the ballot with the resources he had in 2008, voters might wait in line to vote for four to six hours. I think he could hear my jaw drop over the phone line.

How can you as the leadership of this city even contemplate such a thing? I know the registrar will do his best by adding more voting machines, polling places, and more poll workers than in 2008. As a practical matter no one will be able to gauge just what resources will be needed to do something that has never been done before. In a time of short falls, the city will have to spend money. I have heard an estimate of $200,000 in additional expenses over what would have been needed for a Presidential election alone.

Last spring we were told that having our Council elections in November would make things easier for the voters and save money. It certainly does not look that way today.

There is also our reputation as a community. My custom has been to watch election returns on Presidential election nights until a winner is declared. In 2004 I watched CNN. Every so often, they directed their coverage to lines of voters in Ohio. In some parts of Ohio, people were in line until after 11 p.m. The voting machines had not been properly distributed across the state. Some people think that mistake affected the awarding of Ohio's electoral votes in 2004. Whether that was so or not, Ohio's reputation was tarnished.

This Council will be in office in November 2012. You will be the ones held accountable if we have problems like Ohio's. I wouldn't risk it if I were you. We need a Council election in 2011. It's the only solution.

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