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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Registrar: “Acceptable variations” of write-in candidate names will be accepted.

Ward 4 voters who have bad memories of stressful grade school spelling tests don’t need to get too bent out of shape over their May 4 City Council ballot. City Voter Registrar Juanita Pitchford said today that the Electoral Board will consider “acceptable variations” of name spellings when deciding how to award votes in that ward, where no names will appear on the ballot.

Mayfield residents Shawn Lawrence and John White have been running write-in campaigns for the seat, which Hashmel Turner will leave as of June 30. Both men have printed up sample ballots with their names entered in the write-in blank to get people familiar with the spellings.

However, if you blank out in the voting booth over whether it’s Shawn, Shaun or Sean, don’t sweat it too much (It’s spelled with a “w,” though.). Pitchford said those kinds of variations will be considered by the three- member Electoral Board.

One downside of having no names on the ballot: The winner of the Ward 4 race won’t be known until at least the day after the election, because the write-ins can’t be tallied electronically that night.

I sat down today with both Lawrence and White, and will be chatting later this week with Ward 3 School Board candidates Jannan Holmes and Janice Walsh. Look for coverage in the paper in the next two weeks.

But the real story about this year’s election is the lack of participation. Three council members and three School Board members are running unopposed, and as a result we’re not seeing any candidate forums, or any of the other public events and dialog that typically help people understand how their politicians approach their jobs.

Anybody have any theories on why nobody wants these jobs?

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  • ellis

    My theory is that as long as there is gerrymandering, then there is a chance that the best person for the job will not be on the ballot.