0
Votes

Showing Up at Polls

Issues Drive Voters to Polls

Willie West is the owner of a sheet metal company. West said he tries to take every Election Day off to work the polls.

"I’m a blue-collar-type person," West said. "I feel like the Democrats work a little harder for the people."

Sterling residents filed into Sully Elementary School Tuesday to vote in the Senate and House of Representatives‚ 10th District races. Also on the ballot were several county and school bond questions and three constitutional amendments.

West, the Democratic Sully Precinct captain, dressed in a crisp, white Judy Feder T-shirt, thick gloves and an "I Voted" sticker across his chest, said he started his day at 6 a.m. and he will continue to pass out fliers until the polls close at 7 p.m.

"Voter turnout’s been good," he said. "It’s been pretty heavy for an off year. So far, no glitches."

IN THIS CLOSE election year, voter turnout Nov. 7 was expected to be higher than it had been in other recent elections.

"There are a lot of polling places that around lunch time were telling us they had already given out about half of their voter cards," Judy Brown, the county's general registrar, said. "We gave them enough for a 50 percent turn out."

Last year's election, which put Del. David Poisson (D-32) into the General Assembly, saw 41.6 percent voter turnout. In 2002, the last year there was both a Senate and House election, voter turnout was 43 percent.

"It is important to note that since 2002 the number of registered voters has increased by 21 percent," Brown said. "So the same percent means a higher number of people voting."

VOTERS HAD the option to vote paper or electronic ballot, Tuesday.

The direct recording electronic machine’s main purpose is to serve residents with disabilities, said Barbara Cockrell, a spokesperson for the Virginia State Board of Elections, but anyone can use it.

Some precincts encourage their voters to use the machines if there is a heavy voter turnout.

"You can’t run out of electronic ballots," Cockrell said. "It’s another way to keep the lines moving, too."

STERLING RESIDENTS went to vote at the polls concerned about national issues, like the war in Iraq, terrorism, border patrol and gay marriage.

Sterling residents like Jenny Soy said she voted Tuesday because she is concerned about the war in Iraq.

"I’ve been upset for the last six years," she said. "We need to change the direction our country is going. That’s why I voted today."

Like Soy, Pam Kinkel woke up early to vote. One of the main reasons she voted Tuesday was to support President George Bush and the war.

"This is a war on terrorism," she said. "How many countries have been attacked since 9-11? I think we need to keep on taking the aggressive approach. I voted Republican."

Kinkel said she is also concerned about immigration and border patrol.

"Terrorists come across those borders," she said. "North and south."

DAVID JOWDY had a different agenda Tuesday morning. Jowdy, a chiropractor, walked less than a mile from his home to Lowes Island Elementary School to cast his vote. The local business owner and father went to the polls Tuesday morning to vote on local issues.

"Traffic is a major concern," he said. "It affects my life every day."

Jowdy also voted on the five school bond issues on the ballot.

Neighbors Stacy Carrey and Carol Hess walked their children to Lowes Island Elementary School Tuesday morning.

Carrey and Hess said they were concerned with local issues, but their main objective was to keep Republicans in office.

Hess said she is a Republican

"I came to vote on the marriage amendment," Hess said.

"I just want to keep Republicans in control," Carrey said.

The Loudoun Connection went to press Tuesday before the polls closed. Visit www.connectionnewspapers.com for the results of the county and school bond questions, as well as the other election issues.