This post by RCA President Colin Mills originally appeared in Reston Patch.

It’s that time again!  The RCA elections start today, and I’m once again encouraging you to take a few minutes to cast your vote.  Your vote will help determine who will be standing up for Reston’s citizens on issues from the Master Plan revisions to the RCC rec center proposal to ensuring that our investment in the Silver Line works for the community.

Last year, we successfully implemented online voting for the first time.  So this year, we’re going the online route again, to make it as easy and convenient as possible to cast your ballot.  You can vote from the comfort of your home or office.  You don’t have to worry about trekking out in the heat of summer to find a polling place, and you don’t need to worry about bringing voter ID.  You can vote when it’s best for you: on your lunch hour, in the morning before work, or in the middle of the night.

This is the 21st century, and we want to meet our citizens where they are.  People are transacting more and more of their daily business online, and we’re glad that we’ve been able to take our elections in that direction as well.

The voting process is simplicity itself: Just go to the RCA website, and there will be a button on the left side of the page labeled “Click here to VOTE”.  When you click that button, you’ll be taken to a page containing information about how to vote, as well as short bios of all the candidates. On that page, you’ll be able to click a link that takes you to the ballot.  Verify your residency, vote for your preferred candidates, click “Done” and your vote is recorded!

Setting up the election this year was relatively easy, since we did most of the heavy lifting last year in designing our online voting process and mechanisms.  But there was still a significant effort required to get the election ready this year.  And since we don’t have outside vendors to do the work for us, we had to accomplish everything the RCA way: by rolling up our sleeves and making it happen.

Our tech gurus, Gary Walker and Hank Blakely, were invaluable once again in taking care of the nuts-and-bolts siding of making our election a reality.  They designed and tested the ballot, transferred all of the candidate information into web pages, and figured out how to stage the election on our new website.  We could not have made this election work without their expertise, patience, and dedication.

Our Election Committee (Hank, Terry Maynard, Dick Rogers, and Sridhar Ganesan) also deserve a lot of credit.  They collected important election information, recruited candidates, produced and promoted our call for candidates, and publicized the election.  Thanks to our Election Committee members for helping make the election a success!

And now, I’d once again like to urge you to cast your ballot.  Your votes will determine who is serving on the RCA Board but also, by casting your vote, you’re expressing your support for RCA and its efforts.

RCA seeks to improve the quality of life for all Restonians, whether you vote in our elections or not.  But if you benefit from our work in some way, voting is a great way to encourage us to keep up the good work.

If you appreciate the work our Reston Accessibility Committee has done to make Reston a friendlier and more accessible place for Restonians with disabilities, please cast your vote.  If you want our Reston 20/20 Committee to keep fighting to ensure that Reston’s growth and development occurs without threatening our quality of life and our founding principles, please cast your vote.  If you’re excited about our Education Task Force’s plan to offer an exciting new hands-on learning option for at-risk kids, please cast your vote.  Heck, if you read and enjoy my blogs on a regular basis, please cast your vote.

In the next year, Reston is going to face a lot of questions that will go a long way toward shaping our future as a community.  As we prepare to celebrate our 50th anniversary, we’ll be discussing and debating issues that will determine Reston’s direction for the next 50 years.

The Master Plan Task Force should be producing its recommendations for Reston’s future development, and we need to make sure that those recommendations allow for new growth without threatening our quality of life.  The Silver Line will be opening here soon, and we need to figure out how we’re going to get people to, from, and around the station area without snarling all of Reston in traffic.  The RCC’s proposed rec center could go to referendum next year, and we need to figure out how we will meet the future recreation needs of our citizens in a location and with a cost structure that makes sense.  The Reston National golf course remains at risk for redevelopment, and the outcome of that saga could determine whether we can protect our open space.  RCA is going to be standing up for Reston’s citizens on all those issues, as well as any others that come down the pike.

Our new Board will have a strong combination of returning members with experience and dedication, and new blood with fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to make RCA even stronger.  We’re going to continue working together with other community organizations, taking on new challenges, and looking for ways that RCA can better serve the citizens of Reston.

In return, all we’re asking for is your vote.  Make sure to act fast: the polls open today and close on July 10.  Please take a few minutes, go to our website, learn about the candidates, and cast your ballot.  And thanks for your support!