Virginians head to the polls today to choose their next governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and delegates who will represent them in the General Assembly.
Polls opened at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
The races for Virginia’s top seats are among the nation’s most watched this election cycle. Election Day in the commonwealth is seen as a bellwether for how Republicans will fare in politically moderate states in the wake of President Donald J. Trump’s divisive first year in office.
With the stakes high, candidates vying for Virginia’s top seats have stopped in Loudoun to offer stump speeches, shake hands and knock on doors in an attempt to woo voters—or at least convince them to go to the polls—in the politically purple district.
Fewer than half of the state’s registered voters were expected to turn out at the polls today, but precinct chief John Anderson said that may have been too low of a prediction. By 11 a.m. at the Smart’s Mill Middle School precinct, close to 700 people had cast ballots. That’s 22 percent of voters who live in that precinct in Leesburg, and it doesn’t count the additional 185 absentee ballots cast.
“So that’s pretty good for this early in the day, and it will probably pick up,” said Anderson, who’s worked as a precinct captain for 20 years. “We may get over 50 percent.”
The Loudoun Office of Elections and Voter Registration reported 24 percent turnout at 1 p.m.
“We were thinking that we were going to have probably in the high 40s to 50 percent turnout,” said Voter Registrar Judy Brown—and that some polling places are apparently running out of “I Voted” stickers.
At the top of the ticket, Republican Ed Gillespie, Democrat Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and Libertarian Clifford Hyra are vying for governor. Democrat Justin Fairfax and Republican state Sen. Jill Vogel are competing for lieutenant governor, while Democrat Mark Herring, a Loudoun native, is hoping to ward off a challenge from Republican John Adams to hold on to the attorney general’s seat.
Ashburn resident Ed Donofrio, who voted at Stone Bridge High School precinct, said he backed Gillespie for governor. “Democrats have demonstrated financial irresponsibility over the years and that’s why we’re in the trouble we’re in.”
Gazal Modhera, who also voted at Stone Bridge this morning, said she supported Northam because the Democratic platform better aligns with her beliefs. “We’re a far more diverse, culturally vibrant community, and Ed Gillespie just did not represent that.”
Also on the ballot are all 100 seats in the House of Delegates. Read about the candidates running for seats to represent Loudoun residents in the state House in Loudoun Now’s Election Guide: House of Delegates.
Leesburg voters will select a council member to finish out Kelly Burk’s unexpired council term following her election as mayor last fall. On the ballot are Joshua Thiel and Vanessa Maddox. Get to know their priorities if elected in the Election Guide: Leesburg Town Council.
Round Hill also is holding a special election today. Voters will be selecting a neighbor to finish the term of Kimberly Fortunato. In January, the Town Council appointed Planning Commissioner Michael Hummel to fill the seat until the election is held. Hummel is the only candidate to file to be on the ballot. The term will expire June 30, 2020.
Reporter Patrick Szabo contributed to this report.