Update: A 4 p.m. tally of votes cast by the Loudoun County Board of Elections showed 126,439 Loudouners have already voted—52.79 percent of the 210,392 registered voters in the county.
Loudoun voters saw longer-than-normal lines this morning as voting began in a contentious and historic 2016 election.
As of 1 p.m., the Loudoun County Office of Elections had tallied 95,538 voters out of 239,498 registered voters, putting turnout in Loudoun County at slightly below 40 percent. As of today, the county has received 31,743 absentee ballots, with 2,874 still outstanding.
This is the first year the county has collected snapshot-in-time turnout numbers, but total turnout in the previous presidential election was 160,370 voters, 76.29 percent of 210,392 registered voters that year. Already, more than 35 percent of last year’s total turnout have showed up to vote this year.
As of 11:30 a.m., election forecaster FiveThirtyEight.com gave Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton the lead both nationwide and in Virginia, with a 71.4 percent chance of winning the nation and an 85.5 percent chance of winning the state. Meanwhile, RealClearPolitics has Clinton up by an average of 3.2 points in polls.
Ashburn resident Roger Downs said he voted the entire Democratic ticket for the first time in his life.
“I just think, with the way things have gone this year…” Downs said, trailing off.
But Lois, who declined to give her last name, said she was proud to vote for Republican Donald Trump. She said during high school in Illinois she worked for the Democratic Party, but switched in her 20s.
“I was raised by parents who loved Roosevelt and Truman, which I do too, but that’s not the party we’ve got today,” she said on her way into vote at Ashburn Elementary School. Now in her 80s, she said she is not optimistic about the prospect of a Trump victory.
“I think there’s too many self-serving people out there who want somebody to keep handing them free stuff, and if this doesn’t happen this time, we’re in for a fall,” she said.
Beverly Rogers, another Loudoun voter, said she picked Clinton and hopes the Democrat wins “not because she was my first choice, but because the country is so divided on so many levels that we don’t need more division.”
“I don’t think she’s (Clinton) going to make it a cohesive unit, but I hope like hell she does better than he (Trump) would,” she said, laughing. She said she didn’t have a favorite candidate this year.
“It was like candidates were garbage this season,” Rogers said. “For lack of a better way to put it, I felt like Hillary was supposed to be there because she lost to Barack Obama eight years ago, and Donald Trump just bullied his way to the front. Nobody is taking this election as serious as it is for the times and the way our country is running right now.”
Pat, a Leesburg resident who declined to give his last name, supported the entire Republican ticket, as he always has. “I don’t think they’re the best candidates we’ve ever had, but I vote Republican because I support small government,” he said. He would have rather seen U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz at the top of the ticket. “A lot of our freedoms have been taken away, and Trump has indicated he’ll pull back on regulations and big government.”
Supporting Clinton was a difficult choice for Bob Anderson, also a Leesburg voter. He said he typically votes Democrat, but would have been open to backing the right Republican presidential nominee.
“It was a very hard choice,” he said of voting for Clinton. Anderson, like most voters Loudoun Now interviewed, expressed an eagerness to get this election over with. “It’s been all about personal attacks and not issues. What are you going to do with the presidency? They didn’t really answer that.”