More than 6,200 Arlingtonians Voted in Committee’s First Contest Conducted Online, Enabling Voter Access During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Contact: Summer White
Monday, May 24, 2021, ARLINGTON, Va.—Following a record-breaking caucus which for the first time was conducted online to enable voter access during the coronavirus pandemic, Mary Kadera today emerged as the top vote-getter in the Arlington County Democratic Committee (Arlington Dems) endorsement caucus for an Arlington School Board seat in the Nov. 2 general election.
“The Arlington School Board plays a critical role in the stewardship of our schools and, by extension, in shaping our broader community,” Arlington Dems School Board Endorsement Caucus Director Alexandra Zins said. “We congratulate Mary, and thank Miranda Turner for her willingness to step up to serve our community at this challenging time. We also thank outgoing School Board Member Monique O’Grady for her distinguished service.”
The current vice president of the Arlington County Council of PTAs and a mother of two middle school-aged children, Kadera has more than 25 years experience in pre-K through 12 education. She has served in a variety of roles, including as a middle school and high school teacher. Kadera also was the vice president for education at PBS, where she managed PBS’s portfolio of national digital education services and coordinated the educational initiatives of PBS and its local member stations. Currently an education non-profit leader, Kadera also led the McKinley Elementary School PTA for two years (2018-2020), where she stewarded her community through a challenging school move. During the pandemic, she organized volunteers to provide groceries, books and school supplies to families in need across Arlington.
“I am honored and humbled by voters’ faith in me to act in the best interest of all APS students, families, and staff. If elected to the School Board in November, I will work hard to rebuild relationships among APS leadership, the School Board, and the community as our schools fully reopen and we support our students’ academic, emotional, and social needs. I will work hard to earn the trust of communities of color as an ally in the fight for equity and justice. And over the next four years, I know we can work together to strengthen our schools so that every child is known, loved, academically challenged, and inspired, and our staff members are respected and supported as dedicated and highly skilled professionals,” Kadera said.
Arlington Dems Innovate to Ensure Fair and Accessible Caucus Participation in Face of Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic
6,207 ballots were cast in the 2021 caucus, exceeding the county caucus record of 5,972 votes, set in the 2017 School Board caucus. The latter also featured a County Board nomination contest on the same ballot, which likely drew additional voters. Of the total ballots cast this year, 3,836 votes (or 61.80%) were for Kadera, while Turner received 2,368 votes (or 38.15%). (3 ballots were for no candidate.)
For this year’s caucus, Arlington Dems partnered with Democracy Live, the largest provider of mobile and cloud-based voting technologies in the United States, to offer a full week—168 hours—of mobile electronic voting. Voters also were able to cast ballots in-person at one of four locations throughout the County, where Arlington Dems provided laptops, wifi and assistance to facilitate voters’ use of the electronic voting platform.
Access to the cutting-edge balloting platform was made possible through a grant awarded to Arlington Democrats by the nonprofit National Cybersecurity Center (NCC). The NCC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to raising cyber awareness, education, and innovation across public and private sectors. Originally envisioned by former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and founded in 2016, the NCC has active initiatives across a wide variety of areas including cyber education, election security, and SMART cities.
“Arlington Dems were excited to pilot online balloting and are thrilled that a record number of voters chose to cast ballots using the secure electronic voting platform,” Arlington Dems Chair Jill Caiazzo said. “We are pleased with the performance of the Democracy Live platform and grateful to the NCC for helping us to provide a safe voting option under the continuing pandemic conditions.”
In addition to the substantial logistical work involved with organizing a caucus that featured both online and in-person voting options, Arlington Democrats undertook a significant effort to ensure as many voters as possible were aware of the caucus and were able to cast ballots. This effort included outreach to more than 40 news organizations and 70 community organizations across Arlington, organization of two virtual candidate events, distribution of promotional literature to more than 20,000 households, and social media promotion. As in 2020, promotional materials also were translated into Spanish.
Arlington Democrats to Voters: Continue Momentum by Voting in June 8 Primary Election—and Beyond
Arlington Democrats urge voters to keep up the voting momentum by casting ballots in the upcoming June 8 primary election, which features contests for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, House of Delegates, and Arlington County Board. The winners of these contests will be the Democratic nominees on the November 2 ballot for the general election.
Early voting is already underway for the June 8 primary. Voters can cast their ballots at one of three early voting locations in Arlington up until June 5, or they can vote on primary day at their normal polling location. Information about voter registration, early voting, the Democratic primary candidates, and more are available on the Arlington Dems website.
“Virginia has the most competitive governor’s race in the country this year, and the Democratic majority in our state legislature also hangs in the balance. Virginia Democrats must rise - once again - to the challenge,” Caiazzo said. “We urge all Democrats to vote in the June 8 primary and to join the fight to elect Democrats up and down the ballot this November.”
The Arlington County Democratic Committee (Arlington Dems) is the official county organization for the Democratic Party of Virginia. Arlington Dems is open to anyone interested in advancing Democratic candidates, policy priorities and values in Arlington and beyond. Learn more at the Arlington Democrats website, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.