ON ELECTION DAY in Virginia, all voters will find three proposed amendments to the state constitution on their ballots. In addition, voters in Fairfax County will be asked about three bond issues, and those in Arlington County will find a proposal on housing. Our recommendations:
Virginia Question No. 1 -- The constitution now says that people registering to vote must state under oath their marital status, occupation and "maiden name of a woman, if married." The proposal would drop the first two requirements and eliminate the reference to women by changing the phrasing to "maiden and any other prior legal name." These are sensible updatings that deserve a "Yes" vote.
Virginia Question No. 2 -- The constitution now says that no one convicted of a felony may be qualified to vote unless his civil rights "have been restored by the governor or other appropriate authority." The proposal would not change the basic restriction, but would add "or as may be provided by general law," to permit legislation that could spell out provisions for restoring a felon's voting privileges. "Yes."
Virginia Question No. 3 -- Authorizing the General Assembly to limit the introduction of legislation in its odd-year short sessions. This is an ill-conceived and poorly drafted proposal that would seriously hamper the legislative performance of the state legislature. Supporters argue that odd-year sessions are becoming too burdensome for part-time lawmakers. This proposal makes things worse, unnecessarily restricting what bills could be introduced, frustrating orderly preparation and leaving too much important state business to a small group of agenda-setters. To ensure timely legislative response in Richmond, the answer should be "No."
Fairfax County -- Bond issues for roads, parks and mass transit. All have been approved by a county government that can hardly be considered loose with money. The county's development and management plans have been drafted to ensure balance in the facilities provided between older areas and neighborhoods undergoing significant growth. Vote "Yes" on all three proposals.
Arlington County -- "Is there a need for the redevelopment and housing authority to be activated in the County of Arlington?" The county needs to rehabilitate its existing affordable rental and single-family housing, and this is a sensible way -- more than 25 other Virginia jurisdictions follow it already. In no way would this mean, mandate or pave the way for public housing projects or create an agency beyond county control. "Yes."