Danville voter turnout not expected to be higher than usual for a gubernatorial election

Lack of contested local elections likely to hamper turnout

DANVILLE, Va. – A lack of contested local elections could hurt voter turnout in Danville.

Danville Registrar Peggy Petty said absentee voting was about the same as the past two governor's elections.

This year, 612 people voted absentee.

That's 12 less than the previous election and 11 more than the election before that.

Petty said turnout will be better than the primaries in June and should be better than the city council election next spring, but it won't be as high as the near-presidential election level turnout other areas are seeing.

"Some of the localities that are experiencing a higher than expected, maybe, turnout for (the governor's election). It's brought out by the local candidates more so than for the state candidates," Petty said.

Her hope was that voter turnout in Danville would be at least 45 percent.

Voters Joan Schwarz and John Patterson say they always vote, no matter the election.

"Particularly in these days and times, I think we need to get out and vote and this is a right that we have and everybody should exercise that right no matter what the election is," Schwarz said.

"I think the country needs to be heard. You need to express your thoughts about the issues," Patterson said.

Tuesday's election was the first for a new voting sign-in system in Danville.

Petty said poll workers now use electronic poll books.

The "books" are tablet computers designed to speed up the voting process.

The election was also the first real test for the city's new voting machines.

They were used during the June primaries, but Petty said not many people voted, so not many people had experience with the machines before Tuesday's election.

"(The machines) did excellent in June and they did well this morning. There's no mechanical problems. I think there's a little case of nerves," Petty said.

Poll worker Ruby Johnson enjoys the new sign-in system.

"The new system that we have now, it's very interesting. It's fast; much better than the last (system) we had with the laptop," Johnson said.

Petty said as of late Tuesday morning she had not received any complaints from voters, only the usual calls from voters trying to get polling information.


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