In an effort to make the process of voting easier in Fairfax County, George Mason University has been made its own voting precinct.
The decision was finalized on July 26. “Part of it came about because the precinct [Woodson] was split into two different House of Delegates districts,” said Gary Scott, deputy registrar for Fairfax County, “and to avoid having two ballots at one precinct, we’re creating a new precinct.”
The precinct is located in the 41st House of Delegates district and the 34th Senate district. Locally speaking, it will be in the Braddock district, so voters will have the ability to vote for the district supervisor.
If students register to vote at Mason they will not be able to vote in their hometown unless they live in Fairfax County.
Voting laws normally state that a voter can only vote in his or her place of residence, meaning that students who live on campus should only be allowed to vote in Mason’s precinct. However, according to Scott, an exception has been made for these students; now they have the option to either participate in their hometown elections or elections pertinent to Mason’s precinct.
The move to make Mason a voting precinct may seem like it will increase voter turnout but Scott says that is not necessarily the case.
“The number of students registered on campus is not very big,” Scott said. “We have at this time about 700 students registered on campus and of those 700, over 200 of them are what we consider to be inactive. There’s a question of their address. Many of them are probably gone.”
Scott added that the Mason precinct will be used by many residents of Fairfax County.
Scott also noted that the creation of the Mason precinct is nothing unusual or out of the ordinary. “This is generally what we do,” Scott said.