Loudouners going to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 5 could be facing an unusually large crowd—and will be facing an unusually long ballot, according to Loudoun County Registrar Judy Brown.
Already, absentee voting is about double where it was in the last local election in 2015, she said. That year, Loudoun issued 4,923 absentee ballots by mail and in person, with 4,111 used to vote. Others were never returned or were taken in person to a polling place on election day and replaced with a ballot. This year, the county has issued about 7,400 absentee ballots so far.
And with a week to go until the election, she said the registrar’s office is getting busy.
“We had 238 people in the office yesterday [Monday], which is the most we’ve had in any one day,” Brown said. “It was actually higher than what we had on Saturday, so things are starting to pick up. We’re prepared for at least a 50 percent turnout, although we kind of don’t expect that that’s what we’re going to see.”
But the biggest backup, she said, won’t be the number of people turning out to vote—it will be the number of questions on the ballot.
“That’s going to be where we have the biggest issue, is the ballot has a lot of stuff on it, so they really need to be prepared when they go in,” Brown said.
This year’s ballot includes two county supervisors and two School Board members (a district representative and the countywide, at-large seat), four local constitutional officers, a state senator, a member of the House of Delegates, three selections for the Soil and Water Conservation District, and four ballot questions on issuing debt. The ballot is on a legal-sized sheet of paper and printed front and back.
With a fiery political climate and money pouring into Loudoun’s elections, almost every seat is contested, some in three-way races.
Brown said the important thing for voters is “being prepared, knowing what’s on the ballot before you get to the polling place, so that you can make your selections and not have to stand there and think about it while you’re in the polling place.”
At least one thing will be easier—no polling places have changed since the last election, because precincts are frozen in place in anticipation of the upcoming redistricting after the 2020 U.S. Census.
Leading up to Tuesday’s vote, election officials released five things for voters to know.
When to Vote
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5. The last day to vote absentee in person is Saturday, Nov. 2. Absentee voting is at the Loudoun County Office of Elections and Voter Registration, Dulles South Recreation and Community Center and Senior Center at Cascades. Details are online at loudoun.gov/NovemberElection.
Where to Vote
Anyone who isn’t sure about their polling place can check their voter registration information online at vote.elections.virginia.gov. There is also a list of polling places in Loudoun is available at loudoun.gov/polls.
Bring Your ID
Voters are required to show an acceptable form of photo identification at the polls. Those include a Virginia DMV-issued driver’s license, a U.S. passport, a student photo ID from a college or university located in Virginia, or a government-issued photo ID. Voters who do not have one of those are eligible for a free Virginia Voter Photo ID Card. More information is online at loudoun.gov/VoterID.
Know the Candidates and Questions
Links to sample ballots, which will show voters what to expect when they get to the polls, are online at loudoun.gov/NovemberElection. Additionally, read all the candidates’ responses to Loudoun Now’s candidate questionnaire at loudounnow.com/2019electionguide
Alerts from the Loudoun County Office of Elections and Voter Registration can be had by texting LCVOTES to 888777, in the Election Update category through Alert Loudoun at loudoun.gov/alert, or by following the Office of Elections and Voter Registration and Loudoun County Government on Facebook and Twitter. Election results will be online after the polls close at loudoun.gov/ElectionResults. Additionally, there will be live reporting as results come in at LoudounNow.com.
More information is online at loudoun.gov/NovemberElection.