Western Tidewater goes to the polls

Published 9:58 am Wednesday, June 14, 2017

by Stephen H. Cowles

and Stephen Faleski

At press time, unofficial results were unavailable for Tuesday’s primary to nominate Democratic and Republican candidates for the 64th District, as well as for governor and lieutenant governor.

Jerry A. Cantrell, Rebecca S. Colaw and John J. Wandling have been seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination to become the new delegate. On the Republican side, Rex W. Alphin and Emily M. Brewer.

For governor, the choices were Ralph S. Northam and Tom S. Perriello for Democrats; Edward W. “Ed” Gillespie, Corey A. Stewart and Frank W. Wagner for Republicans.

In the lieutenant governor’s primary, Democrats Justin E. Fairfax, Susan S. Platt and Gene J. Rossi; and Republicans Glenn R. Davis Jr., Bryce E. Reeves and Jill H. Vogel.

Lynn Burgess, the registrar for Southampton County, said as of 6:15 p.m. there were no general or specific numbers for how many people voted in her district. But, “it was a little bit above of what we expected.

At Ebenezer Branch Baptist Church on Ivor Road, the turnout had been low as of 12:45 p.m.

“It’s been pretty good for a primary,” said site official Randal Branch. “To me it’s just a shame we don’t get more voters.”

He likes the ballot machine, which was received last year, adding that they’re easier to set up and take down.

Jane Bailey, officiating in Ivor, also said that as of 1 p.m., the voting turnout had been low — maybe about 100-plus people by then. She was informed by an assistant that at last year’s primary, the number was at least double.

Maria Barnes, who said she votes in both the primary and general elections, said she’s confident her candidate would win.

In Isle of Wight County, local turnout was fairly average throughout the day for a state primary according to election officials. As of shortly before 10 a.m. officials working the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department polling location said they had recorded 114 votes.

Doug Klohn, who was campaigning for Emily Brewer outside the Windsor VFD, said he thought voting traffic had been very light so far, but his fellow campaigner Ray Mason said he thought the slow start to the day was normal, and expressed his disappointment that more people had not showed up to vote.

“If you don’t pick someone good [in the primaries], you’re stuck with them,” he said.

By around 10:30 a.m., election officials at the Walters Ruritan Clubhouse had recorded 107 votes, approximately 9.3 percent of the 1,141 registered in that precinct.

Election officials at the Carrsville Volunteer Fire Department polling location had only recorded 53 votes as of shortly before 11 a.m., approximately 6.8 percent of the precinct’s 806 registered voters.

Stella Bradshaw, Carrsville’s chief election official, said she was disappointed to hear several voters say to her that, prior to walking in, they had not even known there was an election scheduled. She also mentioned that for this election, the county had chosen to use paper ballots exclusively.

The paper ballots get fed into a computer, equipped with a battery backup that can last for up to four to five hours, she explained. She added that there are no issues with the county’s computerized voting machines and that this change in policy was just to provide an extra layer of security and safeguard votes from being affected by power outages.

“Our [computerized votes] have always matched up 100 percent; I have complete trust in them,” she said.