Early voting begins, City Council race on Falls Church ballot

Sequoia Wyckoff, Editor-in-Chief

Early in-person voting began this Friday for the November 3 election. For Falls Church City voters (including some GMHS seniors), the presidency, a US Senate seat and House seat, a City Council special election, and two Virginia constitutional amendments are on the ballot.

There is one seat open on the Falls Church City Council, due to the passing of Councilman Daniel Sze in July. Three candidates are on the ballot: Joshua Shokoor, Debbie Hiscott, and Simone Pass Tucker.

Josh Shokoor
Joshua Shokoor is running for City Council. (Photo courtesy of Joshua Shokoor)

Joshua Shokoor is a Falls Church native and a member of the Falls Church City Housing Commission. He is an advocate for developing and preserving affordable housing in the city, with experience as an analyst for an affordable housing developer and an author of Falls Church’s Affordable Living Policy. His platform also includes improving Falls Church public transit and promoting inclusivity. 

Shokoor told the Lasso, “The activism and compassion the youth of Falls Church demonstrated this year was the catalyst for this campaign. I am a GMHS graduate, second generation American, and lifelong resident of Falls Church. For the past several years I’ve worked tirelessly to make this city more inclusive for all people. I am running for City Council, because I want your words to become actions, and promises made to become policy. Together we can make a difference.”

Simone Pass Tucker
Simone Pass Tucker is running for City Council. (Photo courtesy of Simone Pass Tucker)

Simone Pass Tucker is also a Falls Church native, with experience in progressive activism. They are running with hopes to make Falls Church “more eco-friendly, more compassionate, more equitable, more just, and more livable,” through affordable housing initiatives, renewable energy, and a focus on supporting small businesses through development processes. Voters can read more about their platform here.

“I’m running for City Council to help shape Falls Church into an affordable, cleaner and greener city filled with thriving local businesses. The main objective of my campaign is to make Falls Church City a more welcoming place for everyone- including young people. I graduated from George Mason High School in 2016, and if elected will be a voice for the younger generations. We’ve been left out of local politics for too long,” Pass Tucker told the Lasso. 

Debbie Hiscott
Debbie Hiscott is running for City Council. (Photo courtesy of Debbie Hiscott)

Debbie Hiscott is the Executive Director of the Falls Church Education Foundation and a longtime member of the PTA, hoping to bring her experience with the schools to the City Council as planning about the new school and surrounding development continue. She also emphasizes a commitment to supporting local businesses and social justice issues on her website

“I am running for City Council to use my background in the Little City to shape and enact policy about which I am passionate. As a city council member, I will promote equity, environmental causes, strong schools/city services, and economic development. Our current circumstances call for extensive experience in understanding complex community needs and budgets, and working collaboratively–which I do on a daily basis as Executive Director of the Falls Church Education Foundation,” Hiscott told the Lasso.

The candidates will participate in an online forum hosted by the League of Women Voters on Wednesday, September 23 at 7:30 p.m. Community members can learn more and gain access to the forum via Zoom here

“Students should be engaged in this race because it’s a part of the democratic process. A lot of the issues the City Council addresses affect us [students] directly in our day-to-day lives, from education to housing policy– that really affects people,” said Grace Tarpgaard, president of the GMHS League of Women Voters club.

US Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat, is seeking re-election in Virginia. He is being challenged by college professor and veteran Daniel Gade, a Republican. Representative Don Beyer is also running for re-election to represent Virginia’s 8th district in the US House. He is being challenged by Republican Jeff Jordan.

Falls Church voters will also vote on two legislatively-referred proposed amendments to the Virginia constitution. Question 1 asks voters to support or oppose transferring the power to draw congressional and legislative district maps from the state legislature to a new redistricting commission made up of legislators and citizens. Question 2 asks voters to support or oppose a vehicle property tax exemption for veterans with a service-connected disability in Virginia. Voters can learn more about the details of the proposed amendments here

A box outside of City Hall has been set up for voters who have chosen to vote by mail to return their ballots. The box is under constant video surveillance and monitored by the police department. (Photo by Sequoia Wyckoff)

Voter registration is still open in Virginia. The deadline to register is Tuesday, October 13. Registered voters can choose to request a mail-in ballot, vote early in-person, or vote in-person on November 3. 

Early in-person voting and voting by mail is open to almost all voters this year – unlike previous years, an excuse is now not required in Virginia. However, voters who registered to vote via mail and have never voted in Falls Church City before cannot vote by mail unless they meet one of many conditions.

Ballots will be sent in the mail to voters that requested them by the end of September for those who have already applied. The deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot is Friday, October 23. Vote-by-mail ballots can be returned in person at City Hall in the ballot box on or before November 3, or, if sent back in the mail, postmarked by November 3 and received by noon on November 6.

Voters can vote early in-person at City Hall on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m through the rest of September and October. Early in-person voting will also be open Saturday, October 24, and Saturday, October 31, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Voters must bring a valid ID.