Reports from across Virginia show high turnout, especially in key Democratic strongholds, which could mean good things for President Obama’s reelection chances.
State Board of Elections head Don Palmer reported high turnout across the state this afternoon. “Turnout is robust— large turnout, anticipate a very large turnout,” Palmer said. “We think it will be higher than 2008.”
Palmer said the Board is working to help with long lines in Spotsylvania, Henrico, Fairfax, Prince William County, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Arlington. That includes at least four major areas that are heavily populated and lean Democratic.
WTOP reports receiving calls from voters who waited anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours in Northern Virginia.
The lines began first thing this morning. A poll worker in Arlington, Va., told the Washington Post that voters were already lined up when she arrived at 4:30 a.m. to set up voting booths.
In Prince William county, where Obama won by a 16 point margin in 2008, polling places were so overwhelmed that there was only one voting machine for every 750 voters. Prince William County voter registrar says, ”This is a bigger turnout that we expected…we’re doing the best we can.”
As of 4 p.m., about 16,000 voters had cast ballots in Charlottesville, about 80% of the total 2008 turnout. Voters in that city favored Obama over McCain by a 4 to 1 margin in 2008.
Virginia will be the first swing state to close polls at 7 p.m. tonight.