Election day in Virginia officially began at 6 a.m. this morning as voters across the Commonwealth prepared to cast their votes.
Voters waited under moonlight in lines as the polls opened. Those lines quickly dissipated as the 6 a.m. rush slowed. By 9 a.m., voters were slowly trickling into polling locations, often with no wait at all.
This was to be expected this year, with over 2.7 million Virginians voting early due to new voting laws enacted by the General Assembly.
Lin Emerson voted at Marguerite Christian Elementary School in Chesterfield early Tuesday, calling it “the quickest, easiest experience voting I ever remember,” he said.
Voters at Glen Allen High School in Henrico’s west end are able to go in and vote quickly. Poll workers say that it has been consistent, but not busy so far this morning. pic.twitter.com/XcZTl0sEOo— Brandon Jarvis (@Jaaavis) November 3, 2020
The impact of the expanded early voting laws continues to be clear as the rate of voters in Richmond continued to slow throughout the morning.
At the Virginia Museum of a history and Culture in Richmond, @JLJLovesRVA told me that voting has been pretty consistent throughout the morning, but it has slowed a bit now. pic.twitter.com/VJV10QA2P6— Brandon Jarvis (@Jaaavis) November 3, 2020
Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-Henrico) and her Republican challenger, Delegate Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) both began their day greeting voters in Henrico County.
Congresswoman @SpanbergerVA07 is greeting voters in Henrico at JR Tucker alongside @ShannonTaylorVA and @DelRodWillett. Spanberger is talking to these kids about her job after one of the kids told her she has seen her on YouTube pic.twitter.com/Lg8gh4BACt— Brandon Jarvis (@Jaaavis) November 3, 2020
Here is @NickForVA in Henrico at Charles Johnson Elementary. The three women in the first photo asked Freitas’ staff to take their picture – this was their first time voting and they want to send the picture to their sister. pic.twitter.com/cO6TiyTffc— Brandon Jarvis (@Jaaavis) November 3, 2020
One woman that voted at Dorey Park in eastern Henrico said that she was able to walk in the polling center and vote right away. She also said that she has not voted since 2012, but she felt she couldn’t sit this year out.
I’m at Dorey Park in the east end of Henrico. There is no wait for voters at all right now. One woman told me she hasn’t voted since 2012, but she felt that she could not sit this year out. pic.twitter.com/3lM1z0B98y— Brandon Jarvis (@Jaaavis) November 3, 2020
Curbside voting was also taking place, but multiple people at precincts in Henrico were not aware it was even possible. There were no signs or cones at J.R. Tucker High School early in the day identifying the area to park in order to vote curbside. The only way for voters to identify the location was to notice the single employee standing on the sidewalk in normal, everyday attire while sporting an I.D. badge that was hanging around their neck.
The SwimRVA polling location in Chesterfield received their first curbside voter a few hours after the polls opened.
This location also had its first curbside voting participant while I was here. It happened around 10:15 a.m. pic.twitter.com/K76pL0A3A1— Brandon Jarvis (@Jaaavis) November 3, 2020
I have met some interesting people though. This is at Harrowgate Elementary in Chester pic.twitter.com/7YCNe1Sdjc— Brandon Jarvis (@Jaaavis) November 3, 2020
Mail-in ballots will continue to be counted until 11 p.m. Tuesday night. They can continue to be counted after 11 pm.m., as long as they are postmarked by Tuesday and received before Friday at 12 p.m. If a race in Virginia is too close to call by 11 due to outstanding mail-in ballots, then the candidates will have to wait until Friday to find out the results.
The 1 p.m. turnout update from Charlottesville show a large drop off for in-person voting and hints that a big dump of early votes will be released sometime after polls close. Officials have been able to process early votes ahead of time, speeding up the counting process tonight. What is still unknown, however, is the number of ballots that will arrive today, or before Friday at the noon deadline.
Either way, this should be positive news for the Democrat in VA-05, Dr. Cameron Webb. He is running against Bob Good, the Republican that defeated Congressman Denver Riggleman in a nominating convention earlier this year. Senator Tim Kaine (D) won Charlottesville with 86% of the vote in 2018 when he ran against Corey Stewart, a candidate similar to Bob Good in ideology and support.
Turnout is very high in Chesterfield County as of 2 p.m. According to the Chesterfield registrar, “73% of Chesterfield County’s 259,238 registered voters have voted. This includes Election Day votes, absentee ballots and early in-person voting,” according to officials. “For comparison, by the time all votes were counted in 2016, ~ 75% of registered Chesterfield voters had cast their ballot.”
This is good news for Spanberger in VA-07, where she will need Chesterfield to show up big time at the polls today.
Chris Piper from the Virginia Department of Elections said everything is going well. “No news is good news.” Piper said they are not getting any reports of long wait lines, however, he said they are expecting larger groups of people to show up and vote in the next few hours.
4:00 p.m. This post will continue to be updated throughout the day.
The polls closed at 7 p.m. The Associated Press called the Virginia Senate race for Mark Warner. Mark Warner defended his seat and will be in Congress for at least six more years.
At 7:38 p.m., the Associated Press called Virginia for Vice President Joe Biden.
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