Tribune reporters are cris-crossing Loudoun County today to get a sense of how voters feel about the end of the longest and most acrimonious election seasons in recent American history. Stay tuned for updates as we experience democracy in action.
5:32 Little River Elementary has kept Election Day enthusiasm from poll opening to poll closing. Poll volunteer Dave Bryk has been here since 5 a.m. and saw nearly 700 people vote within the first two hours. With that early rush, and a large amount of previously cast absentee ballots, precinct captain Carisa Knox says Little River is well on its way to hitting it’s 80 percent turnout goal. Keeping the enthusiasm going was Virginia state senator Dick Black, who is greetng voters outside the polling place. Black, whose district includes parts of Loudoun County, encouraged people to vote for Donald Trump.
4:58 Poll volunteers Supriya Majumder and Charles Boyer are still having fun at the J. Micheal Lunsford Elementary School polling place. As 5 o’clock approaches and traffic increases here, the two volunteers passing out sample ballots on behalf of the Democratic and Republican parties, respectfully, are keeping high spirits, enthusiastic about Election Day. Though they disagree on politics, both agree that in the past hour people have been less likely to take a sample ballot than they did earlier this morning.
4:29 Concerns over Virginia’s photo ID law have not materialized-at least not here at Liberty Elementary School. Precinct chief Steve Schoemly says of the more than 1,000 ballots cast here, only one person didn’t have the proper ID and subsequently had to use a provisional ballot. Including absentee and early voters, nearly 70 percent of this precincts’ votes have already been cast, with around two-and-a-half hours remaining until polls close.
3:58 Virginia’s 10th District representative Barbara Comstock greets voters outside Freedom High school in South Riding. The first-term congresswoman is capping of a frantic campaign season with several stops across the 10th District, which includes all of Loudoun County, as well as Clarke County, and parts of Prince William and Fairfax Counties. “Meeting with people and traveling has been really great today,” Comstock said. “It really gives you get a great sense of all the diversity across the district.”
3:41 Foot traffic has stayed more consistent at Hutchinson Farm Elementary School in South Riding. Precinct chief Ramani Sivakumar says that’s common in his previous experiences working the polls, with many people voting in a steady stream earlier in the day. Sivakumar says heavy traffic in the area prevents many people getting off work at 5 p.m. from getting to the polls before they close, and many of those who do make it are too tired to come out. Still, as of 3:30 more than 50 percent of the precinct has come out to vote today.
2:28 Things have slowed here at Rosa Lee Carter Elementary after a steady morning rush saw 709 voters submit their ballots. Poll volunteers said there have been some confusions with people coming here instead of their actual polling location next door at Rock Ridge High School. Both schools are within in the Loudoun Valley development in the rapidly growing southeastern portion of the county.
2:16 Volunteer Lloyd Hartin was surprised by the amount of people who came to vote at Stone Bridge High School in the early morning. It was less people than he remembered when he worked the 2012 and 2008 presidential elections. Hartin has also been surprised by the amount of women who have requested Republican sample ballots.
2:07 Sanders Corner Elementary precinct has become peaceful throughout the day. According to volunteer Erin Rayner, the polling station was busy until around 9 a.m. A few voters have come sporting Trump or Clinton hats and stickers but outward support has been very minor.
1:56 Volunteer Steven Schawaroch has been at the Broad Run High School polling place since 5 a.m. He says the Broad Run parking lot was packed first thing in the morning. Groups of voters brought breakfast burritos and iced coffee for everyone in the early hours. Now the stream of voters is “slow but steady” says volunteer Dianne Mayersak.
11:15 Enterprising students at Sterling Middle School are hosting a bake sale outside this polling place to raise money for the schools’ AVID club.
11:22 Abbie Henrickson has spent six hours a day for the last three days making Get Out the Vote Calls on behalf of the Democratic party. She will work a similar schedule today outside the Sterling Middle School polling place. Henrickson says polls have been steady, but not overwhelming and she believes absentee and early voting has taken a larger chunk than usual of the typical Election Day turn out.
9:58 We experience bipartisanship at it’s finest as Republican and Democratic poll volunteers are supporting each other outside the Potomac Falls High School polling location as they hand out sample ballots for their respective parties.
10:00 Leesburg Town Council candidates Kaite Sheldon Hammler and Evan Macbeth are here making their final pitch with voters outside Cool Spring Elementary School.
10:01 At River Bend Middle School, Republican volunteer Helga Myers says she’s working to support the whole party ticket, including presidential nominee Donald Trump and District 10 representative Barbara Comstock. Earlier in the campaign season, Comstock denounced Trump and has continued to separate her campaign from the GOP nominee.
10:15 Polling place volunteer Glenn Gillis at River Bend says he expects a record turn out today. As of this time, already one third of the 1,800-person precinct has voted and another 20 percent has already voted early or absentee. He thinks the precinct will finish with more than 80 percent participation when polls close at 7 p.m.
10:20 Precinct captain Mike Mitchell says everything here at River Bend Middle School is “picture perfect” with lines moving steadily after an early rush at 6:30 this morning. “It’s been very smooth, which is very, very good news,” Mitchell said.
10:32 At Heritage High School in Leesburg, members of the school’s theater department host a bake sale to support their winter production a Christmas Carol: The Tale of Two Scrooges.
10:45 While most signs at polling places have been in support of one candidate or another, there are around a dozen signs at Park View High School attacking Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in a precinct that tends to vote more for Democrats. The signs knock Clinton for her use of a private email server, her handling of the Benghazi terrorist attacks and accusation of impropriety from her charitable foundation, major talking points for Trump and other Republicans during the campaign season.
10:52 Democratic poll volunteer Rita Poston says most voters here at Park View High School have already made up their minds. She also says most voters have been, to her surprise, very polite.
10:53 Dave Bishop holds a Kevin Wright sign outside his polling place. Bishop is married to Wright’s mother, BJ Webb who was formerly Leesburg’s mayor and also served on the town council. Bishop said he and Webb were excited to help and that Wright is “a good guy, smart, committed and ethical.”
10:59 Park View High School precinct captain Carol Haverfield says things are going well, though the electronic voting machine has gone down twice. “Anybody who has had a computer could understand what we’re going through,” Haverfield said. The brief down time hasn’t interfered with tabulating the votes, and already 739 votes have been cast today out of 2,505 in the precinct, which doesn’t include absentee or early votes. Haverfield says there are around 200 more registered voters here than in the primaries and she expects a record turn out.