Strangers become friends in long early voting line in Chesterfield

Posted at 5:58 PM, Oct 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-19 18:31:41-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Hundreds of voters in Chesterfield cast their ballots as four additional satellite absentee voting locations opened in the county.

Long lines were reported as doors opened for early voting at the LaPrade Library on Hull Street Road at 10 a.m. Monday.

Melanie Reid and Buckley Woodson struck up a conversation as they waited for their turn to vote.

“We talked about life,” Woodson laughed. “It was such a pleasure talking to her.”

The line snaked from the front entrance nearly to the back of the parking lot. Both Reid and Woodson thought about turning around when they pulled into the library parking lot.

“At first I said, ‘Let me turn around and come back.’ But, then I said, “No, I’m doing this,’ Reid recalled. “I didn’t think they’re going to get any shorter.”

Woodson said of his new friend, "If I haven’t had I wouldn’t have met this wonderful lady here. So, it was a blessing in itself. I was double blessed today."

More than 300 people voted at the North Courthouse Road Library within the first two hours, according to Chesterfield General Registrar Constance Hargrove.

“Early voting has been fantastic here today. It’s been really busy,” Hargrove explained.

As of Monday, more than 1,300,00 Virginians have voted early so far in 2020.

Hargrove predicted even longer lines on November 3rd if it weren’t for early voting in the Commonwealth.

“I don’t know if you remember 2008 where there were lines for three and four hours. Everybody tries to avoid that now. If you get this many people showing up at one time you cant avoid a line. It would’ve been a long day for voters as well as officers,” Hargrove stated.

CBS 6 Political Analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth said Chesterfield may no longer be the Republican stronghold it once was like in the late 1990s.

“Chesterfield has become more of what I call a purple county. They go to blue or go to red,” Holsworth stated. “We’ve seen pretty dramatic changes in the politics of the two largest counties surrounding Richmond, which is Henrico and Chesterfield.”

On Monday, former-Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-7th District) met voters waiting in line at the North Courthouse Road Library and LaPrade Library.

Chesterfield will play a crucial part on the results of House race as Republican challenger Nick Freitas aims to takeover Spanberger’s seat, Holsworth said.

“Chesterfield may not a litmus test for the nation, but it will extraordinarily important who is elected the next congressperson from the 7th district in Virginia.”

The four satellite voting locations include:

North Courthouse Road Library
325 Courthouse Road, North Chesterfield

Laprade Library
9000 Hull Street Road, North Chesterfield

Meadowdale Library
4301 Meadowdale Blvd., North Chesterfield

Ettrick- Matoaca Library
4501 River Road, South Chesterfield

Voters can also use county's Registrar’s Office located at 9848 Lori Road.

You can vote in-person absentee at those locations or drop off your mail-in absentee ballot.

Voters are asked to wear a mask and follow state and federal social distancing guidelines.

Each site will be open Monday - Friday from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Voters have until October 23, to apply for an absentee ballot by mail.

For more information, click here.

Early In-Person Voting

Friday, Sept. 18: Early Voting Begins

Voters do not have to fill out an application to vote in person. Voters can simply go to their general registrar’s office, show ID and cast a ballot. Early in-person voting ends Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020.