Some of the longest lines reported around the state were seen before sunrise, as voters waited for Election Day polls to open. Some of the longest waiting had already occurred during early voting, and could be still to come with so many absentee ballots left to process Nationally.
More than 2.7 million Virginians had already voted by Election Day due to new laws, the Virginia Department of Elections reported. Early voting commenced 45 days before Election Day. Legislators also recently changed laws to allow no-excuse absentee voting and made Election Day a state holiday. Early voting ended Saturday, but voters could still cast in-person votes Tuesday and return absentee ballots by Election Day.
The results of so many early votes were apparent in Fairfax and Loudoun counties. A line of voters was gone by 6:30 a.m. at Fairfax County Government Center in Fairfax, only half an hour after the polling location opened. Locations at Broad Run and Stone Bridge high schools in Ashburn had more poll workers than voters. In Fairfax County, multiple polling sites had more workers and volunteers than voters throughout the day.
Langley High School in McLean seemed to have a stronger Republican presence than schools closer to Fairfax. Several people were working the Fairfax Republicans table outside and there were many Trump signs planted in the grass. A member of Fairfax Republicans declined a chance to speak to the press at Langley High School, citing his distrust in the press. Minutes later, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe came to the school and had an interview with a Washington Post reporter.
Nancy Fatemi, precinct captain for the Langley precinct of Fairfax County Democrats, said she had not seen anyone trying to intimidate voters. Similar voting environments have been reported across the state today.
“So far it has been a very smooth day throughout the commonwealth,” said Department of Elections Commissioner Chris Piper during an afternoon briefing Tuesday. He said there were no reports of harassment or intimidation.
Almost 890,000 residents opted to vote via mail-in ballot. Mail-in ballots can still be received until Nov. 6 at noon, as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3. Precincts were given an 11 p.m. cut-off time on Tuesday to stop processing absentee ballots for the night and report those numbers, according to Piper. Counting will resume Wednesday, but not reporting.
If there are a number of votes remaining, the soonest those results will be posted is the Friday noon deadline, though it could be hours or days later, depending on the amount of processing left to do, according to Piper. Results will be certified Nov. 10 and have final certification by the State Board of Elections on Nov. 16.
– Megan Lee / Capital News Service