Fredericksburg City Beat

This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.

Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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How to check a box

Voters in Fredericksburg will get a blast from the past when they go to vote in the Dec. 11 special election for the First District Congressional seat–paper ballots!

Virginia law requires that the voting machines that were used in the Nov. 6 elections be locked up until Dec. 12. That means a return to student-body-president-election technology for the First District race.

But before you go thinking the whole affair is going to be as simple as checking “Yes, No or Maybe” on the invites you got to your junior-high dances, be sure to read these instructions, provided by city Voter Registrar Juanita Pitchford:

“Prior to the polls opening, the Chief Officer of Election will open the locked ballot box and display the inside of the box for all observers present to indicate that the ballot box is empty. The Chief will then lock the ballot box and open the polls.


The voter indicates the one candidate of their choice by marking the square box next to that candidate’s name on the paper ballot. The voter may vote for someone not named on the ballot by not marking any square box and writing the name of their choice in the blank area under the other names on the ballot.


The voter folds the ballot in half so that their mark is inside and only the Electoral Board seal shows on the outside. The voter hands the ballot to the Ballot Box Officer of Election who will determine that only one piece of paper is being provided and that the paper has the official seal. The Ballot Box Officer then places the paper ballot into the locked ballot box.


After the polls close, the Chief will determine the number of ballots that should be in the ballot box using the Pollbooks and Pollbook Count Sheets.  The ballot box will be unlocked and the ballots will be hand counted at the polls.”


A few other things to know:


- The last day to register to vote in this election is Tuesday, Dec. 4.

- The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is Saturday, Dec. 8.