By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: November 14, 2018 | 12:30 p.m.
Turnout reminiscent of presidential election at some precincts
VIRGINIA – Voters turned out in droves across the Commonwealth and in Southside Virginia to cast their ballots during last week’s midterm elections, making their voices heard while also generating some of the highest turnouts for a midterm that some election officials had ever seen.
Last Tuesday, Virginians went to the polls with the rest of America to cast their ballots in the first midterm elections since President Donald Trump took office, the results of which could impact how the second half of his first term will go as all of the seats in the House of Representatives were up for grabs, along with a number of U.S. Senate seats and gubernatorial races in key battleground states like Florida.
While midterm elections, according to local election officials, typically have lower turnouts than your local, state, and presidential races, this time around, localities across the state and the country reported strong turnout from voters casting ballots in person and through absentee voting.
For poll workers at the Richard Bland College precinct, officials overseeing the site on the campus of the college described the turnout as being that similar to that of a presidential election as voters made their way to the Barn Theatre to cast their ballot.
With Katherine Tyler now retired as the county’s long-serving registrar, her successor Allan Richeson served at the helm for the county’s midterm elections, an election that saw a strong turnout across Prince George.
“Our turnout was between roughly 55 and 56 percent,” Richeson remarked. “All of our precincts had steady turnout throughout the day.”
When asked, Richeson said everything went smoothly and no major issues were reported during last week’s election. That also applies to the county’s newest polling place at Faith Baptist Church in the Jefferson Park district. In 2017, supervisors voted to move the precinct from the Jefferson Park Fire Station to the church, citing space concerns and access for those voters with disabilities.
“This has been a very good move for us,” Richeson remarked. “The folks at the church are very accommodating. The people can get into the church to be able to vote and exit easily. They have a great facility there.”
An important part of any election is the team of poll workers at each of the county’s precincts and Richeson praised their hard work leading up to, during, and after the polls closed on Tuesday.
“We cannot do this without them,” he said. “They are very good, they’re knowledgeable, they’re friendly and educated. They work very well with the public because they are part of the public. The people they are working with are their neighbors so they do their very best to help them.”
Looking at the state’s unofficial results as of press time, over 12,600 votes were cast in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives races that were on Prince George voters’ ballots.
According to state data, the Republican Congressional Ticket of Corey Stewart and Ryan McAdams carried a majority of the vote in Dinwiddie County, with each candidate receiving 55 percent and 56 percent of the vote in their respective Senate and House races.
In the end, Democrat Tim Kaine would be re-elected to the United States Senate for another term while Democrat Donald McEachin carried over 60 percent of the Fourth Congressional District vote en route to victory and his second term in the House of Representatives.
In addition, Prince George voters, along with the rest of the Commonwealth, overwhelmingly voted yes on a pair of constitutional amendments, one which would allow a county, city, or town to provide a partial tax exemption for real property that is subject to recurrent flooding, if flooding resiliency improvements have been made on the property and the other allowing the real property tax exemption previously provided to the surviving spouses of veterans who had a “100-percent service-connected, permanent, and total disability” be amended to allow that spouse can move to a different primary residence and still claim the exemption.
Having finished overseeing his first election as Prince George registrar, Richeson was pleased with the outcome and is looking forward to the 2019 elections, where local races will highlight the ballot, including school board and board of supervisors seats.
“I enjoyed it very much,” he said. “They are some great people who work here and it was a pleasure to serve my community.”