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Arlington sees a busy start to Election Day

Election Day got off to a busier-than-expected start this morning.

As of this morning, some 9,200 voters turned out to vote today, according to the Arlington County’s Dept. of Elections.

“So far, the pace today has been slightly busier than June,” observed Tania Griffin, the communications director for the elections department.

This year is an off-off-year, or one with neither gubernatorial nor presidential offices on the ballot. In Arlington, voters are selecting candidates for local offices as well as representatives to the state Senate and House of Delegates.

Mallory McPherson, who is chief of precinct 146, told ARLnow that the flow of voters has been stronger than she expected.

“Usually the state elections are a little quieter but it’s been steady all day,” she said, noting a mix of voters so far. Before 9 a.m., it was mostly people voting on their way to work and since then, more families have stopped by.

Griffin says early voting, which ended Saturday, “definitely picked up in the last week.”

Early voting kicked off in September to a muted start, with only one poll open. After additional locations opened, the pace ramped up and on the last two days of early voting, more than 800 people cast ballots.

Overall, early voting far outpaced numbers in the last comparable election year, 2019. This year, 7% voted early and in-person while another 9% requested mail-in ballots.

In 2019, 9% of voters voted absentee, both in person and mail, Griffin said. Total turnout in 2019 was 37%.

“The difference between in-person absentee voting today vs. 2019 is in 2019 voters were required to provide an excuse to vote early,” Griffin said.

The morning kicked off with a confrontation outside one of the polling places involving Matthew Hurtt, the chairman of the Arlington GOP, which he recorded and posted on social media.

Hurtt was near the Dawson Terrace Community Center, offering people sample Republican ballots, when an unidentified voter confronted him, making liberal use of expletives.

“You might as well have been walking up to my head and… putting a gun to my head and telling me not to vote and you expect me not to take that [expletive] personally?” the man said.

The scene appeared notably calmer at Arlington Central Library, where Democratic Arlington County Board candidate Maureen Coffey observed a lot of activity this morning.

Coffey is one of four candidates vying for two seats on the Arlington County Board, along with Democrat Susan Cunningham, Republican Juan Carlos Fierro and independent Audrey Clement.

The victorious candidates will replace a seat Katie Cristol vacated this summer and a seat that Board Chair Christian Dorsey will leave behind this December.

Two Virginia State Senate races are also competitive: incumbent Democrat Sen. Adam Ebbin is going up against Republican Sophia Moshasha for the 39th District and incumbent Democrat Sen. Barbara Favola is going up against Republican David Henshaw for the 40th District.

Races are less competitive for local delegates to the lower chamber of Virginia’s state legislature.

In the House of Delegates, Del. Patrick Hope is unopposed for his re-election to the 1st District and Democratic candidate Adele McClure is unopposed in her bid for the 2nd.

Del. Alfonso Lopez is challenged by independent Major Mike Webb, a frequent candidate for office.

A handful of candidates and incumbents are running unopposed, including:

  • Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti
  • Treasurer Carla de la Pava
  • Clerk of the Court Paul Ferguson
  • Commissioner of Revenue candidate Kim Klinger
  • Sheriff Jose Quiroz
  • School Board candidate Miranda Turner

Turner was endorsed by the Arlington County Democratic Committee this spring. She had one challenger, James Vell Rives IV, who dropped out this summer to focus on a School Board bid next year.

He did not drop out soon enough for his name to be removed from the ballot, however.

James Jarvis contributed to this report

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