Presidential hopefuls are counting on voters in Loudoun, considered a political bellweather, to come to the polls today.
Virginia is one of 12 states holding presidential primary elections today, known in political circles as Super Tuesday.
The commonwealth has open primaries, and voters will not be required to sign a statement of affiliation. Voters will need a valid photo ID to vote.
County leaders are expecting a high turnout, in line with other primaries around the country.
“We are anticipating at this time at least a 30 percent turnout or slightly higher, which is similar to the November 2015 turnout,” said Judith A. Brown, Loudoun County general registrar. She said the presidential primary in February 2008 saw a 31.4 percent turnout despite ice storms in the afternoon.
Republicans Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and John Kasich are still in the race. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton continue to vie for their party’s nomination.
Jennifer Cheplick, of Leesburg, said she doesn’t always vote in primary elections. But she did not want to sit on the sidelines for this one.
“I came out to vote against Trump,” she said. Specifically, she checked the box next to Republican Marco Rubio’s name. “I would do just about anything to vote against that bigot.”
Trump has won three states in the run-off for the GOP’s nomination. Other contenders will need to do well in today’s primary elections to have a chance at beating him.
Cheplick’s daughter attended a Trump campaign rally at Radford University Monday. “She said it was a big circus, but she wanted to go. She wanted to be a part of history.”
On the other side of the political aisle, self-described Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders is winning support among young people.
It was the chance to back Sanders that brought 24-year-old Gillian King, of Leesburg, to the polls. She sees Sanders as someone who sympathizes with the challenges of the middle class and new Americans.
“I’m Mexican-American, so I definitely wanted support someone who supports Latinos,” she said, noting Trump’s negative comments toward Mexicans. “I’m really surprised that Trump has supporters. Honestly, it’s a little scary because everything he says is extreme.”
Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Loudouners vote in primaries at their normal polling places. Find where you vote at loudoun.gov/voting.
Stay with LoudounNow.com for election coverage throughout the day.
Poll workers (back to camera) Lisa and Terry O’Neill help voters at the Philomont Firehouse during Super Tuesday voting. (Douglas Graham/Loudoun Now)