After four hours of handing out ballots, Ashburn resident Ray Ehrenbeck could finally take a breakfast break at about 10 a.m. Tuesday morning.
"We're juggling taking a break," said the chief election officer for Precinct 808 Stone Bridge as other election officers worked lines as many as 10 people deep. "We've had a steady flow through the day. We've had no real lines. Nobody's standing outside yet, but by evening they might be."
Ruth Judd, working at the table next to Ehrenbeck, said the turnout was better than predicted. "It's been busy most of the time. Every now and then, we have a few slow minutes which are welcome," said the election officer, who lives in Old Ashburn. "It's been a steady flow since 6 o'clock."
Chief election officer Marnie Perlik said the turnout "is not too good" at the Seldens Landing Elementary School polling place. "I suppose it's lack of interest. This is an off-year election, though I thought the [sales] tax [referendum] might counteract that," she said, adding that 20 percent of the 2,500 people registered to vote in the Ashburn precinct had voted by 10:45 a.m.
COUNTYWIDE, the voter turnout was 26 percent, below the expected turnout of 35 to 40 percent. More than 46,000 residents voted of the 119,774 registered to vote.
"Everybody's got to vote to get the government going," said Ashburn resident James Grau as he waited in line at the Seldens Landing Elementary School polling place.
"It's a big responsibility in the first place, and there's issues on the ballot I'm interested in participating in," said Ashburn resident Lisa Selner, who voted at Stone Bridge High School.
Selner mentioned the sales-tax referendum, which proposes raising $5 billion in 20 years for Northern Virginia transportation projects, and the $118.8 school-bond referendum for constructing two new high schools and renovating Broad Run High School in Loudoun. "Those are important to us. We're concerned about congestion in the area, and ... we think we need more roads in the immediate area," she said, adding, "We have one child and one coming, so schools are important."
Ashburn resident Jerry DeRosa said the primary issue for him was the sales-tax referendum. "It's going to affect the nature of the community in an overall way," said DeRosa, adding that he was not sure how he would vote at his polling place at Broad Run High School. "I know there's not a lot of big decisions to make on the national scale, but locally it's important," he said.
Charles Weaver of Ashburn said the senate race and sales-tax referendum were the primary reasons he voted. "I wanted to participate in selecting who governs us," he said. As for the sales tax, he said, "I think its important to vote [the referendum] down because I think the tax is too heavy already."