Given the renaming-mania that is sweeping the locality these days, might it not be easier for the Arlington Electoral Board to simply eliminate all names of the county’s 54 voting precincts, and instead identify them solely by their numbers?
That may be in the cards. But also, maybe not.
Electoral Board members on March 25 discussed a proposal, brought forward by some in the Green Valley community, to change the name of Glebe precinct to “Drew,” after the voting location (Charles Drew Elementary School) in South Arlington.
Using Glebe as the precinct name is confusing to some voters, in part because there is another precinct (Woodlawn) located miles away that is housed at Glebe Elementary School in North Arlington.
And voter confusion is not limited to that single instance.
“There are a lot of confusing names – we have a lot of these,” said Gretchen Reinemeyer, the county’s director of elections.
The proposal to change “Glebe” to “Drew” came from the Electoral Board’s vice chair, Kim Phillip. She noted that some residents had wanted to change it to “Green Valley,” the neighborhood in which it is located, but a consensus emerged favoring “Drew.”
The other two Electoral Board members had no problem with the idea, but said timing might be an issue. A change would need to be approved by the County Board after a requisite public hearing, something that might prove logistically challenging to accomplish before the 2021 general election.
Electoral Board secretary Scott McGeary suggested waiting until 2022, when there will be a host of changes to polling places due to decennial redistricting.
“Next year is a good year to consider all of this at once,” he said. “Next year is probably a better year.”
Reinemeyer and Electoral Board chairman Matt Weinstein both noted that Arlington is something of an outlier in naming its precincts as well as giving them numbers. Whether both are needed is an open question, Weinstein said.
“Most voters, their question is, where do I go to vote?”