The choice cometh: Voters to decide on issues Tuesday

Area voters will go to the polls Tuesday to vote on a regional sales tax referendum, a Prince William County road bond, two state constitutional amendments and two state bond questions, as well as one U.S. Senate race and three U.S. House races.

Prince William voters will vote in special elections to select a state senator in the 39th District and, in an uncontested special election, voters will cast ballots for the Gainesville School Board seat.

The sales tax referendum would raise the current tax by one half of one percent, from 4.5 to 5 percent, to raise $5 billion for regional road improvements over the next 20 years. Nine Northern Virginia jurisdictions — the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William and the cities of Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park, Fairfax and Alexandria — will make up the regional tax district.

The $86.7 million Prince William County bond issue would pay for seven projects, but it would not raise taxes. The bonds will be paid for using existing county revenue streams.

Republican U.S. Sen. John W. Warner is being challenged by Jacob G. Hornberger Jr. and Nancy B. Spannaus. The three are on the ballot in the county and the two cities.

Warner has no Democratic challenger in his campaign for a fifth term. Hornberger of Ashburn and Spannaus of Leesburg are independent candidates vying for the seat.

All three jurisdictions will also vote on a representative to the 10th Congressional District, a seat currently held by Republican Rep. Frank Wolf. Wolf is running for an 11th term against Democrat John B. Stevens Jr. of Sterling.

But only county residents will be voting for Republican Jo Ann Davis, who is running unopposed in the U.S. House 1st Congressional District.

County residents will also be voting in the race for 11th District U.S. House race that finds Republican Rep. Thomas M. Davis III challenged by Constitutional Party member Frank Creel.

Some Prince William voters will also be voting on the 39th District state senatorial seat formerly held by Madison E. Marye of southwestern Virginia, who left office for health reasons last year.

Redistricting last year moved that district from the state’s southwestern tip next to North Carolina to the opposite end of the state. The 39th District includes 25 precincts in Fairfax County and nine precincts in Prince William: Buckhall, McCoart, Westridge, Purcell, Lake Ridge, Old Bridge, Rockledge, Mohican and Springwoods.

Rosemary Lynch, a Democrat from Alexandria, is running against Republican state Delegate Jay O’Brien Jr. of Clifton. O’Brien currently represents the 40th District in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Prince William residents who live in the Gainesville Magisterial District will be voting in a special election for the county School Board. Donald P. Richardson, who was appointed last September, is running unopposed.

If elected he will fill the unexpired term of former school board member Charles Colgan III. That term expires Dec. 31, 2003.



Voters will be asked if the Constitution of Virginia should be amended to permit the Supreme Court to consider claims of innocence presented by convicted felons without requiring them to file the claim first in lower court.

The amendment applies to cases in which a person is convicted of a felony but is later able to prove his or her innocence because of new scientific or DNA evidence discovered after their conviction.

In a second ballot question, voters will be asked to put the decision of what charitable property should be exempt from taxes into the hands of the local taxing authorities. Under current law, the decision is made by the state legislature in Richmond.



A state bond authorizing $900,488,645 for capital projects for educational facilities, including George Mason University, and another one authorizing $119,040,000 for capital improvements for parks and recreation, will also appear on the ballot for all county and city voters.

Leesylvania State Park and Mason Neck Park would be included in the improvements. The money raised would go for acquisition of land, campground construction, visitor center renovation, road improvements, trail improvements and shoreline repair.

The educational bond would raise funds to pay for capital projects at state supported colleges, universities, museums and other educational facilities.

Virginia law requires a majority of voters to approve state bond acts.

Staff Writer Diane Freda can be reached at (703) 878-4723.

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