Turnouts expected to be higher than usual this Election Day

Absentee volume has been higher than the similar election four years ago

ROANOKE, Va. – Election Day is here and typically the gubernatorial election, when we vote for the next governor, has the second highest turnout after the presidential election. 

But while we won't be seeing turnouts as large as we did last November, they could still be larger than average for an election of this type. 

Anna Coleter, the general registrar for Roanoke County, says we typically see between 46 and 48 percent of voter turnout county-wide for these gubernatorial elections. 

In all, the number of registered voters in Roanoke County is up about 600 voters from 2013. The number of active voters in the county is up 2,000 voters from 2013.

In Roanoke City, more than 60,400 are registered to vote Tuesday. 

Early indications are that we'll see more of those voters turning out to the polls today than average. 

"Our absentee volume has been higher than the similar election four years ago, so we're expecting a higher turnout than normal," says Andrew Cochran, Roanoke City director of elections. 

Poll workers across the state have been preparing for this year's election. Roanoke County workers have been going through intensive training since the last election.

Voters at Bonsack Baptist Church can expect a much different experience than last year's presidential election, when the wait time to vote stretched more than two hours for much of the afternoon. The long line of voters snaked back and forth through the church's main lobby. 

All of the assigned workers were on site, but election officials say the huge voter volume was too much to handle at once.

Cloeter says voters at Bonsack Baptist can expect a quicker voting experience this year. She says the training sessions focused on using the laptops to quickly sign in voters and put their paper ballots through the machine. The training is expected to make things run more efficiently. 

"if any issues do arise on Election Day our officers know how to handle them quickly and effectively," she says. "If it's a bigger issue, like a scanner stopped working, they can give us a call so we can get a replacement out to them quickly."

Wait times are expected to be the longest in the morning before people have to work, at lunchtime, and at the end of the day right before the polls close.