Seal of the President
Seal of the President

In the race for President of the United States, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) faces former Governor Gary Johnson (R-NM) (now a Libertarian) and real-estate mogul Donald Trump (R). Also on the Virginia ballot will be two minor candidates, Evan McMullin (I) and Doctor Jill Stein (G). Incumbent President Barack Obama (D) has reached his constitutional term limit and is not permitted to seek reelection.

The United States has a unique system for electing presidents, where the citizens of each of the fifty states (and the District of Columbia) vote for a slate of electors who are ‘pledged’ to a particular presidential candidate. Each state has a number of electors equal to the size of its total congressional delegation, counting both representatives and senators. The District of Columbia has three electors as well, which brings the total number of electors to 538.

Maine and Nebraska allot their electors based on the majority vote in each congressional district, with the remaining two electors chosen at-large based on the statewide vote. All other states and the District of Columbia allot their electors under a ‘winner take all’ system, where the winner of the statewide vote receives all of that state’s electors. The candidate who receives a majority vote of at least 270 electors wins the election.

If no candidate receives a majority vote, the House of Representatives is then called upon to choose a president by a ‘majority of the states’ vote. Presidents are elected to four-year terms, and may serve up-to two terms. . . . Continued

Seal of the U.S. House of Representatives
Seal of the U.S. House

In the race to represent Virginia’s Tenth District in the United States House of Representatives, incumbent Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA 10th) is seeking reelection and is challenged by LuAnn Bennett (D).

The Tenth District encompasses Clarke County, Frederick County, Loudoun County, the cities of Manassas and Winchester, and parts of Fairfax and Prince William counties. Comstock was first elected in 2014 and is nearing the end of her first term.

All seats in the House of Representatives are up for election every two years. There are 435 seats, representing each of the fifty states in rough proportion to their population as recorded in the most recent national census. There are an additional six non-voting delegate seats representing U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

The Republican Party currently holds a 247-186 majority over the Democratic Party in the House, and two seats are vacant. Virginia has eleven seats in the House, with eight held by Republicans and three held by Democrats. . . . Continued

Seal of Virginia
Seal of Virginia

Article XII, Section 1, of the Constitution of Virginia establishes a process for amending the constitution. The state Senate or the House of Delegates proposes amendments and, after having been passed through both houses, they are then presented to the voters for approval. Once approved by the voters, the state constitution is amended as specified, and that change can only be reversed by repeating the amendment process.

Citizens of Virginia will be voting on two constitutional amendments in this year’s November election, each of which would change or add text to the Constitution of Virginia.

Worker Rights

The Code of Virginia includes a number of protections for workers, including a prohibition against employers denying employment to nonunion workers or compelling employee membership in labor unions, and restrictions against the establishment of abusive union monopolies. These restrictions, commonly (but incorrectly) called ‘Right to Work’ laws, are in-place in twenty-six states. . . . Continued

Seal of Loudoun County
Seal of Loudoun County

Article VII, Section 10, of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia requires local governments to obtain voter approval to issue bonds. Voters in Loudoun County, Virginia, will be asked to consider four bond referendums on this year’s November ballot.

Bonds are debt. When they are sold, the issuing government receives an immediate influx of cash from the purchasers. But, like a bank loan, all of that money must be repaid over time (plus interest). As such, bonds should be used sparingly, and only for large, unusual projects where funding them directly from the general fund is not possible.

Parks and Recreation Projects

Voters in Loudoun County, Virginia, will be asked in a referendum to authorize the county to issue up to $76,115,000 in general obligation bonds for parks and recreation projects. These would be used to finance the construction of a community center in Ashburn, a park in the Blue Ridge District, and “other public park, recreational, and community center facilities.” . . . Continued

Meeting "Weird Al"
Meeting “Weird Al”

I met “Weird Al” Yankovic last Sunday.

My sister, Kristen, invited Melissa and me to join her at his “Mandatory World Tour” performance at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Virginia. Our VIP tickets included seating close to the stage, a gift bag, admission to a pre-show party, and—best of all—a chance to meet the man himself.

If you have never been to a “Weird Al” concert, I suggest you remedy that as soon as possible. He and his band put on an amazing and hilarious show. They perform his most well-known parody songs, always perfectly capturing the sound and style of the original, while going through constant costume changes and interacting with props (and the audience). During breaks for costume changes, video clips of “Weird Al’s” weirdest stuff—television and film cameos, clips from his own shows and videos, and more—plays on the screen.

He also puts a few interesting twists on his songs now and then, most notably in an acoustic set near the concert’s mid-point. That’s why, when I met him, I suggested that he do a live album. His response, without missing a beat, was something like this: “We’ve done a couple of live DVD’s, and if you look away from the TV that’s just like a live album!”

Indeed.