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Virginians Take Advantage Of Early Voting

voters
Long lines at registrar's offices across Virginia. (Photo: Kemberly Rainney)

Election registrar's offices were slammed Friday as many Virginians took advantage of the first day of early voting. 

Virginia is one of a handful of statesthat allowed early voting due to new rules laid out by the Democratically-led General Assembly. 

Those new rules include not needing an excuse to cast an absentee ballot or have a photo ID when voting in person.

In Chesterfield County, the registrar’s office saw over 800 voters by 3 p.m. And almost 75 voters cast their ballots in Amelia County by the same time.

“We’ve been able to get people checked in, hand them their ballot, voted and back out the door with their ‘I voted’ sticker within three to four minutes,” said Deborah Hathorn, the Director of Elections for Amelia County. 

Hathorn said only one of the people who voted today did not have a mask on. 

“We cannot force a voter to wear a mask. We cannot turn a voter away--and will not.”

She said that after everyone votes, all the stations are thoroughly cleaned. 

According to an earlier story on VPM, at least 790,000 Virginians have requested absentee ballots--that’s more than triple the total for all of 2016. 

An official for Chesterfield County said that as of today, they’ve handled over 30,000 requests for absentee ballots, while Hathorn said they’ve received roughly 800. Officials in the registrar’s office in Richmond were unable to provide numbers, saying they were in the process of sending out over 20,000 mail-in absentee ballots.

Other news outlets, such as CNN, reported that as of 11 a.m. this morning, over “two football fields” of people were lined up to vote in Fairfax, Virginia. And locally, NBC12 reported that more than 200 people had voted already at the new registrar’s office on West Laburnum Avenue in Richmond around the same time.

 

Ian M. Stewart previously was the transportation reporter and fill-in anchor for VPM News.
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