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Monday, May 10, 2021
Editor’s NotebookEditor’s Notebook: Starting to get some election clarity

Editor’s Notebook: Starting to get some election clarity

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The League of Women Voters of Arlington yesterday held debates for the two House of Delegates districts (45th and 49th) that have intra-party battles going on, as well as the County Board race.

Good to see – it finally feels like we have some races, with the candidates squaring off face to face (on the computer, that it) in preparation for the June 8 primary.

The debates provided some clarity in which contenders are serious, and which are not so much. There is no need to rush into an analysis, but we’ll have news coverage coming up so you can take a look at how the candidates did.

There are candidate debates also in the offing for other parts of our coverage area (in McLean, for instance, Del. Kathleen Murphy has got a challenger in the Democratic primary), so we’ll be able to bring you that, too.

SPEAKING OF ELECTIONS: The archives of the Northern Virginia Sun yield up this nugget: Back this month in 1950, Virginia’s poll tax was coming due – if you wanted to vote in November, you had to pay up in May. (Heckuva way to run a railroad, as the saying used to go ….)

The poll tax was $1.75, which, using a handy-dandy inflation calculator, equates to $19.23 today. Round it up, and it’s 20 bucks for the privilege of casting a ballot.

Back in that era, Virginia’s leaders were doing all they could to keep the voter rolls as small and, ahem, manageable as possible (and if you think it was all about segregation, think again; Virginia’s power-brokers didn’t want whites voting, either, unless they were sure which way they were going to vote). It was political scientist and data analyst V.O. Key who made the trenchant observation that, back in those days, Virginia was so anti-voter-participation, it made Mississippi look like a veritable hotbed of democracy in comparison.

A FUN DITTY FOR THESE TROUBLED TIMES: An item in the Vienna police report this week mentioned that a fire had started in an electrical fixture atop a light pole in the street, which led to a temporary power outage for some residents.

Brings back the fun ditty “Third Rock from the Sun” (not to be confused with the fun TV show “Third Rock from the Sun” of roughly the same vintage).

Those who were around back in the mid-1990s couldn’t get this Joe Diffie tune off their radios or out of their heads, it got such major airplay.

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