September 9, 2020
Herndon-Reston Indivisibles and other organizations have been working hard to get persons to register and to vote.
In this Issue
  • Commentary: No More Excuses
  • Latest Updates on COVID-19
  • Bulletin Board
  • What Can I Do?
  • Check your Calendar
Commentary

No More Excuses
The most important election of my lifetime is coming up on November 3, and I am not even on the ballot! It is likely the most important election in your lifetime as well. Yet, if past practices hold true, we will in the United States have one of the lowest voter participation rates in the world. We simply cannot have people deciding to stay home when the future of our basic form of government may be at stake. (No, I am not overstating the seriousness of what we are facing this election day!)

There are no good excuses for not voting. As an editorial last week in the Washington Post stated, “Virginia has gone from laggard to leader in making it easy to vote.” You can vote on Election Day November 3 at your usual polling place following the rules of the pandemic of wearing a face mask and keeping social distance. Alternatively, you can vote early at designated locations and times, or you can cast an absentee ballot with no excuse needed by postage-paid mail or dropped in designated ballot drop boxes. All this begins on September 18. Details are available at https://www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/.

Historically Virginia has been a laggard in making it easy and convenient to vote. In fact, most voting laws in the past had the intention of making it difficult for most and impossible for some to vote. After the Civil War and Reconstruction, white supremacists who took control of the government passed laws with the publicly announced purpose of keeping Black people from voting. Some poor whites met the same fate. Virginia had the lowest rate of voter registration and participation in the country and the world with these laws that were part of the Jim Crow movement.

The first challenge in voting in Virginia in the past was getting yourself registered, if you could find the voter registrar who was part of the governing machine and not readily accessible. Registration was by a blank sheet process whereby you were required to supply on a blank sheet seven specific pieces of information exactly in the order they were required in the state constitution. Stories abound about college-educated Black or progressive persons who could not pass the literacy test to vote because of the ways the requirements were manipulated.

Once registered to vote in the Virginia of the past you were required to pay a poll tax to cast your ballot. The $1.50 was a problem for some, but the greater problem was remembering and meeting the requirement of paying the tax at least three years in a row six months before the election. Only the party faithful received a reminder.

See why I say there is no excuse for not voting this year?! It could not be easier. Make sure that you, your friends and neighbors are registered, in person or on-line, by the deadline of October 13. Make a plan to vote that you will keep: vote early in-person or by absentee ballot or on election day. No excuses! 

Latest Updates on COVID-19

Fairfax County

9/8/2020 — Fairfax County Public Schools’ (FCPS) free breakfast and lunch program for ALL FCPS students is being extended through December 31, ensuring that students have access to nutritious food during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemicRead more.

9/8/2020 –Video from Fairfax County: Staying the Course to Slow the Spread of COVID-19. Watch the video.


Virginia

9/8/2020 — The Virginia Department of Health encourages residents to get an annual influenza (flu) vaccination to reduce the chance of getting the flu and spreading it to others. Read the recommendations.

9/8/2020 — Governor Ralph Northam announced proposals to expand access to voting for the November 3rd General Election amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full article.


Nationwide

9/8/2020 — CDC Offers Guidance for Parents on Helping Children Cope during COVID-19. Read the advice.

9/8/2020 — CDC Provides Information on Travel during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Read the guidance.


Bulletin Board
Fall for the Book Festival Goes Virtual!
Based at George Mason University, Fall for the Book is an independent non-profit literary arts organization that promotes reading by sponsoring a variety of year-round events and activities, the flagship of which is the Fall for the Book festival held each fall. Events start this week. Check out the schedule here.
Know a young person interested in environmental issues?
Check out the VASWCDEF Youth Conservation Leadership Institute website for the application and to see examples of past programs.
Extended Special Enrollment Period Offers
New Chance to Access Health Coverage

Virginians who lost their health insurance any time this year may have a new opportunity to enroll in health insurance coverage at HealthCare.gov.
Read more from the State Corporation Commission.
What can I do? Civic Involvement
Do Your Part to Protect Your Community
Download the graphic or get more information at Flu Resource Center.
Calendar of Events
Wednesday, September 9, 6:30 p.m., Reston Community Center
Preference Poll Candidates Forum, RCC Hunters Woods. More information is at Preference Poll Candidate Forum.

Monday, September 14, 10:00 a.m., Gun Violence Awareness Vigil at National Rifle Association headquarters, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax. The vigil commemorates the anniversary of the day 26 children and educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Please DO NOT park in the NRA's parking lot. There is plenty of free parking in the office building lot on Fairfax Ridge Drive across Waples Mill Road. Signs and flags will be provided. Most protesters will drive past the NRA with signs taped to their car windows or doors. Those who want to social distance and wear masks will stand on the sidewalk.

Thursday, September 17, 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., Your Vote, Your Voice: Make a Plan to Vote with the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area. Learn about what it takes to register to vote or update your registration in Virginia, how to check your voter registration status, how to vote absentee (no excuse needed) by mail or in-person, and lastly, how to prepare to vote on election day. Register here.

Friday, September 18, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., Webinar: 10 Ways to Stop Power Struggles & Start Motivating Your Kids, presented by Fairfax County Public Schools. Free but registration is required. Repeated 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Learn more and register at FCPS Webinar for Parents.

Sunday, September 20, 7:30 p.m., Equity Matters: Moving Forward to Equal Justice – 13th, a film that charts the explosive growth in America's prisons, from about 200,000 in the ‘60s to today’s incarcerated population of two million, while tracing the connection to the racism embedded in American history. At Reston Community Center Hunters Woods – Community Room. Learn more and register at 13th.

Tuesday, September 22, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Foster Care and Adoption Information Meeting, at Reston Regional Library. To learn more visit Foster Care Information.