Voters in parts of Virginia's Fairfax County will be heading to the polls Tuesday.
Residents of Clifton, Herndon and Vienna will select candidates for mayor and town council. At stake are issues close to home for residents in these Fairfax towns, including everything from transportation and public safety to sewer lines and garbage disposal.
The election for mayor of Herndon is the most hotly contested because of a challenge to the incumbent mayor's approach to growth and density related to the extension of the Silver Line.
Fairfax County Electoral Board Secretary Brian Schoeneman says turnout is expected to be very light.
"In the past, the average that we've seen is Vienna is about 5 percent. In Herndon and Clifton it ranges between 20 and 25 percent," he says.
At 10 a.m., after the morning rush hour, elections officials had 665 votes in Herndon, 434 in Vienna and 22 voters in Clifton. Polls will be open until 7 p.m.
May elections were once common across Virginia, until the General Assembly passed a bill in 2002 that allowed municipalities to move their elections to November.
University of Virginia Center for Politics analyst Geoff Skelley says moving local elections from May to November increases the ability of political parties to influence elections with the power of the sample ballot.
"Having all those elections all at the same time definitely creates, you know, check the box next to the party you prefer and not so much a focus on what's actually at stake in a local election," Skelley says.