Polling places around Arlington are reporting relatively light turnout so far this morning for the 8th Congressional District Democratic primary.
“It’s probably a little slower at this point then we had anticipated,” Arlington County General Registrar Linda Lindberg told ARLnow.com. “Some precincts haven’t even had 50 voters yet.”
Lindberg said Arlington is on pace for 10-12 percent voter turnout, barring a late surge in voters. Two years ago, when heavily-favored incumbent Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) faced off against Bruce Shuttleworth in the Democratic primary, overall turnout was 7 percent.
Election officials at Arlington Central Library were surprised at the low turnout considering the impact of the primary. Chief Election Officer Stephanie Sanders said that at 9:05 a.m., 45 voters had come through the door, and while there is usually a rush when polls open at 6:00 a.m., she said no voters came in until 10 or 15 minutes after the doors opened.
“People just voted in April for the [Arlington County Board] special election, so there might be voting fatigue,” Sanders said. “It’s almost always busiest here in the morning, so we’ve already missed our busy period.”
Another theory: the gloomy morning may have dissuaded some voters from making the trek to their local voting stations. So far, however, there have been no reported problems at the polls, according to Lindberg.
While many elections see multiple campaign volunteers at polling places passing out flyers and sample ballots, Central Library had just one, a volunteer for Del. Patrick Hope, the only candidate based in Arlington.
“I’ve never seen nobody campaigning,” Sanders said. “We’ve had no authorized representatives come in. We thought we’d have at least a couple.”
Chester Chandler, a 60-year-old Vietnam War veteran, voted this morning, and he said he was “going to miss [Rep.] Jim Moran.”
“He was really concerned with veterans’ affairs,” he said. “I went to his office and he made sure I got my benefits.”
Chester said he noticed that he had seen former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer’s name more than the other candidates over the course of the campaign, adding: “you can tell who’s got the most cheese.”
“Hopefully we get some young people with some different ideas in Congress to make Arlington and this country what it should be,” he said. “I’m 60 years old and even I know something different needs to happen.”
The candidates seeking the Democratic nomination today are Don Beyer, Bill Euille, Lavern Chatman, Adam Ebbin, Patrick Hope, Derek Hyra and Mark Levine. Three candidates withdrew from contention but are still on the ballot: Charniele Herring, Bruce Shuttleworth and Satish Korpe.
The winner will face Republican Micah Edmond in the fall. The 8th District encompasses Arlington, Alexandria and parts of Fairfax County.
Ethan Rothstein and Morgan Fecto contributed to this report
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