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You are here: Home Opinion Paula I. Bryant Election afterthoughts

Election afterthoughts

What we’ve heard since last Tuesday’s election has surprised us. No, not about the results, but we’ve found it alarming that a number of people missed out on voting for the president, and these are intelligent voters who simply missed their opportunity.


They went to the polls too, had their proper forms of identification, patiently stood in line and waited their turn, only to realize after it was done, they hadn’t voted for president.

They weren’t trying to vote twice, but some county voters were truly confused when they finished voting on Tuesday because they hadn’t cast their ballot for president.

After hitting “record ballot,” all too many realized their error. Some asked poll workers about it, others quietly left the polls not wanting anyone to know they had missed their opportunity.

After all was said and done Tuesday, it seems it wasn’t just a single local precinct problem either, but rather more voters than you would expect here and in surrounding counties cast their ballots without voting for president.

The State Board of Elections received similar complaints.

The problem has perplexed election officials and had some scratching their heads because the ballot on Tuesday had the exact same layout as the ballot in the 2008 presidential election.

The only difference was a small space indention when listing the party name for the presidential candidates.

From what we’re hearing, some voters had expected the presidential candidates to be listed on a separate page. Instead they were found on the left side of the page, and some voters just looked at the right side where the U. S. Senate and Congressional candidates were listed.

Halifax County’s ballot was the same one used by 23 other localities, and some of them reported issues with people not voting for president as well.

It confirms what people in the newspaper business have known for a long time, readers’ eyes focus first on the right side of a page and often stray away from “wordy” copy.

Evidently, the left side of last Tuesday’s presidential election ballot was “too wordy” for some voters who simply skirted past it to the right side of the ballot that was less verbose.

Before they knew it, many had hit the “record ballot” in the upper left hand corner of the screen, and then it was too late to go back to the candidates’ page.

And yes I did cast my vote for president, but I can see how it could have happened because I too voted first for the candidates on the right hand side of the page before going back to the left to find the presidential candidate of choice.

Just goes to prove we’re all human.


One happy group

Producer members of county Farm Bureaus throughout Virginia are extremely pleased that Question 1 on the Virginia ballot passed by 75 percent on Nov. 6.

Wayne Pryor, president of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, seems to be one of the happiest.

 “All farmers depend on their land for their livelihood, and the amendment to Virginia’s constitution that voters approved this week will help protect their property rights,” Pryor said. “We’re pleased the General Assembly and the governor worked with us to put this amendment to a popular vote, and we’re looking forward to it going into effect on Jan. 1, 2013.”

The amendment requires all government and private condemning authorities to assure that any eminent domain condemnation is for public purposes, not for private gain. It also requires that property owners be paid fair market value for their land, limits taking land to that only necessary for the public purpose and requires compensation to landowners for lost business and access.

“The Question 1 private property rights amendment tilts the scales back in favor of the landowner” in an eminent domain dispute, Pryor said. “For many years that hasn’t been the case. Landowners can always sue to dispute an eminent domain taking or the amount of compensation, but legal proceedings take time and lots of money. Those are two things most Virginians don’t have a lot of.”