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Thousands of early votes roll in a week ahead of primary night

Election 2020 Voting Problems voting booths voting vote
Posted at 6:35 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 19:19:27-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The end of Virginia’s primary election season is next Tuesday, June 8. Voters who want to vote early, in-person can do so at their local registrar’s office through 5 pm on Saturday.

The biggest prize at stake is the nomination by Virginia Democrats for Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General. Democrats and Republicans in some House of Delegates districts and local offices are also voting in primaries.

More than 70,000 voters have already taken part in early voting for the primary elections, according to the Virginia Department of Elections.

Marylin Brown voted early at the Richmond Registrar’s Office Tuesday, one week exactly before primary day polls open.

“A lot of people probably will be coming on election day, and I think it’s easier to just do it. What Nike says, ‘just do it!” Brown said. “There are a lot of candidates in the primary, so you had to think.”

Five candidates are vying for the Democrats’ gubernatorial nomination, with former Governor Terry McAuliffe seen as the front-runner based on polling, fundraising, and name recognition from his term in office.

State Senator Jennifer McClellan and former Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy are seen at the top challengers. Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax and Delegate Lee Carter are running for the nomination as well.

“By and large, the argument against McAuliffe is he’s had his turn, he’s a figure of the past, let’s move forward to sort of a younger person who’s more a person of the future,” said Dr. Bob Holsworth, a longtime Virginia political analyst. “They really need to find some kind of lane, some kind of message that’s going to resonate with people to say that McAuliffe, who was seen as a good Governor and well-liked by Democrats, really shouldn’t be their nominee for a second term.”

Virginia’s Constitution does not allow the Governor to run for consecutive terms.

The Lt. Governor’s race is also a crowded field for Democrats. Six people are seeking the nomination.

Delegate Elizabeth Guzman will appear on the ballot but has withdrawn from the contest.
A poll conducted in April by the Wason Center at Christopher Newport University found that Del. Rasoul had an edge, but 68% of voters they surveyed were still undecided in the race.

With so many candidates lacking limited statewide name recognition, Holsworth expects the race to be wide open.

“Very few people know any one of these candidates beyond the people who live in their region. So the question is in this race, will Governor Northam’s of Hala Ayala, for example, will that endorsement really mean a lot?” he said.

In Attorney General’s contest, Mark Herring is seeking a third term in office but faces a pointed challenge from Delegate Jay Jones, who is part of a young, progressive group of state lawmakers and received the endorsement of Governor Northam.

“This is another case where we’re going to have to see the Democrats have to decide whether they’re going to take the endorsement of Governor Northam or whether they’re going to look at [Herring] who is a pretty strong progressive on a number of the social issues and stick with him,” Holsworth said.

Virginia Republicans selected their statewide candidates at a party convention last month. Glen Youngkin won the nomination for Governor, Winsome Sears is the GOP Lt. Governor nominee, and Delegate Jason Miyares is the party’s Attorney General candidate.

Marilyn Brown said she views herself as an independent and did not want to reveal who got her vote. Still, she was very willing to offer up this message on taking part in the democratic process.“If you don’t affect change, then do not complain. You don’t have a right to complain. If you do your part and do what you should do and things don’t work out the way you want it, at least you tried.” she said.

You can find more information on where to vote in the primary and who is on the ballot in your area here and here.