While a quarrelsome presidential campaign has most people eager for Election Day to come and go, it also will likely mean a record number of voters heading to Loudoun County polls today.
In the past two months, 5,506 Loudoun residents have registered to vote, bringing the total registered voters to 239,506.
“That’s big. We had no idea it would increase that much,” Loudoun Registrar Judy Brown said.
She anticipates more than three-fourths of those voters will make it to the polls, surpassing the last presidential election in 2012 when 160,378 people, or 76 percent of registered voters, cast ballots. This election cycle, her office received requests for 15,438 absentee ballots—almost double the 2012 total. As of Monday, 12,552 absentee ballots had been returned, including roughly 2,000 electronic ballots from men and women in the military and others living overseas.
For weeks, Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump has conjectured that the election might be rigged. But Brown said she and her staff, as well as an army of volunteer poll workers, are ensuring everything is on the up and up.
“We’re doing our usual due diligence to make sure everything is taken care of,” Brown said, while encouraging voters to be respectful to one another and to poll workers. “I just hope that our voters here in Loudoun County come and present themselves to vote like they do in every other election, and that they exercise their right to vote just as they always do, and go on from here.”
As they always are on Election Day, the county’s Emergency Management Office will be open and on call in case anything goes awry.
[See Loudoun Now’s Election Guide for what will be on your ballot.]
Candidates at the top of the ballot have also made it a point to press the flesh in the political bellwether of Loudoun County this year. In May, Clinton met with supports at a coffee shop in Stone Ridge. In August, Trump held a packed rally at Briar Woods High School in Ashburn, and his running mate, Mike Pence, made a campaign stop at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville.
On Sunday, Trump held a second Loudoun rally that drew several thousand people to the Loudoun County Fairgrounds. He said there has never been a political movement like this in American history. “We’re going to have such an exciting night,” Trump said. “We are one day away from the change you’ve be waiting for your entire life.”
Polls open at 6 a.m. today and close at 7 p.m. Voters are required to show an acceptable form of photo identification at their precinct. Acceptable forms of ID include a valid Virginia driver’s license, a U.S. passport, a student photo ID, or a government-issued photo ID. Voters without a photo ID will be required to vote a provisional ballot.
More information, including absentee voting locations, is online at loudoun.gov/election2016.