Here are our picks for the top local stories to start your day:

Jon Ballou, a research scientist for the National Zoo, works on population genetics with the zoo’s giant pandas, golden lion tamarins and other species. (Matt McClain/For The Washington Post)

Maryland’s Election Day 2010 robo-call case goes to trial this week. Political operative Julius Henson, who faces charges he orchestrated the calls to keep black Democrats from going to the polls, plans to argue the state is prosecuting him because he worked for Republicans.

Virginia’s new voter ID laws are spoiling Bob McDonnell’s fun. As McDonnell continues to try out to be Mitt Romney’s running mate, he must still decide whether to sign two new laws. State Sen.Thomas A. Garrett Jr. (R-Louisa) made his party’s case for the laws on Fox News over the weekend.

Coming up today on PostLocal:

Need a late-morning laugh? Join Alexandra Petri at 11 a.m. for ComPost Live. Petri will discuss whether a Shakespearean comedy of errors holds up in the smartphone age.

And live at noon, join Amy Berman, a registered nurse and senior program officer at the John A. Hartford Foundation, who has decided against seeking aggressive treatment for her terminal inflammatory breast cancer. She will discuss her story and answer your questions.