July 10, 2018 – Plowing through the folders of old news clippings in our office is a daunting task, since it seems that my predecessors saved almost everything. Not just any mention of Arlington elections or voter registration, but pretty much everything that has even the slightest mention of elections, candidates, laws, etc. This includes info from other states, not just Virginia.
As one who started working during these “old school” days and has made the transition to the Internet age, I kind of get this mentality. Nowadays, I plug into Electionline on a daily basis for my election geek fix, and to the VPAP for my Virginia news update, in addition to Twitter and other online media sources. The saving of “interesting” print clippings is really no different than me skimming my online news sources and reading what interests me.
What is different is determining when the level of interest for archival purposes ends. I don’t think I need to keep every little mention of voter registration deadlines that appeared in print over the years – I don’t, after all, keep them for the present day. But I have found some items of interest that I’ll be archiving and sharing. For example, I knew that years ago there were “precinct registrars” as well as a central (later general) registrar in the County. Citizens could register to vote either at the central office or at their precinct registrar’s home, during prescribed hours.
What I didn’t know was a controversy roiled Arlington back in 1966, when a precinct registrar left her home to register voters in an apartment building in her precinct. Shocking! This lead to involvement by General Assembly members and the State Board of Elections. Registrars were subsequently given permission to leave their homes to register voters elsewhere in their precincts, and ultimately precinct registrars were eliminated, with all registration activities handled by the central office.
I’ll explore this issue in more detail, with links to some of the articles,