Vienna voters will take part May 4 in an annual town rite: choosing members of the Town Council.
Three seats are up for grabs in this year’s election and it won’t be an unopposed cakewalk, as in some years. Council incumbents Steve Potter, Howard Springsteen and Nisha Patel are seeking re-election and being challenged by Vienna Planning Commission member David Patariu.
This year’s election is relatively sedate compared with the previous two years’ contests, which featured a slew of candidates vying for some open seats. One possible reason for the calm: The Town Council last year repealed the controversial Maple Avenue Commercial (MAC) zoning ordinance, which had caused major heartburn for residents, developers and town officials.
In alphabetical order, here are this year’s Council candidates:
• Patariu, an attorney who made an unsuccessful bid for Council last year as part of a four-member slate, seeks to put residents’ needs above those of developers, create safer streets, stop water-bill increases, build sidewalks and parks, and examine traffic’s impact on residents’ quality of life.
• Patel, an ophthalmologist who runs her own practice, first was elected to the Council in 2019. She is advocating to complete the town’s zoning-code rewrite, protect personal-property rights, use taxpayers’ money wisely, help the town emerge from the pandemic and make Vienna more walkable.
• Potter, a former U.S. Navy officer and retired senior-level corporate executive, also joined the Council in 2019. During the pandemic, he has advocated to eliminate non-essential expenses, trim budgets without harming vital programs, help businesses and residents and work on economic development.
• Springsteen, a retired Fairfax County vehicle-logistics manager and longtime member of the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department, first was elected in 2009. He cites as successes the town’s pandemic response, ongoing infrastructure improvements and zoning-code rewrite and sidewalk projects.
In-person voting on Election Day will take place from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Vienna Community Center, 120 Cherry St., S.E.
Registered Vienna voters can cast early in-person ballots from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through April 29 at the Fairfax County Office of Elections, located at the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 323. Early voting also will be available on May 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the government center.
In-person voters will need to show one acceptable form of identification, which could include:
• A Virginia driver’s license (even if it is expired).
• U.S. passport.
• Employer-issued photo identification.
• Student identification issued by any community college or university located in the United States.
• A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document featuring the voter’s name and address.
The deadline for vote-by-mail applications has passed. All mailed ballots must be received in the Office of Elections by noon on Friday, May 7.
To learn more about the Vienna election and this year’s candidates, visit www.viennava.gov/residents/elections-and-voting.