FAIRFAX, Va. — Absentee voting opened Friday in Virginia’s primaries for the midterm congressional and Senate elections as well as contested local primaries in Alexandria and Arlington.
In Fairfax County, six weeks of early voting at the Government Center leading up to the June 12 primary began with a traditional announcement by site supervisor Augastene Teal that “in-person absentee voting is now open.”
— Max Smith (@amaxsmith) April 27, 2018
Each locality in Virginia has in-person voting hours now through June 9.
Three candidates — Prince William County Board Chairman Corey Stewart, Del. Nick Freitas and E.W. Jackson — are vying for the Republican nomination for Senate to take on Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine in the fall.
There are a series of primaries in congressional races as well, although some of the nominations in Virginia are being set through party conventions or caucuses.
In Northern Virginia, the most closely watched congressional primary is in the 10th Congressional District. Six Democrats are vying for the opportunity to challenge Rep. Barbara Comstock in November. She faces a Republican primary challenge from Shak Hill.
Fairfax County mailed out 151 ballots in the Democratic race as absentee voting began, the Office of Elections said. The candidates are Alison Friedman, state Sen. Jennifer Wexton, Dan Helmer, Lindsey Davis Stover, Julia Biggins and Paul Pelletier.
The 10th District covers 49 polling locations in Fairfax County plus all or parts of Loudoun, Clarke, Frederick and Prince William counties and the cities of Manassas, Manassas Park and Winchester.
Virginia voters do not register by party, and can choose whether to vote in a Republican or Democratic primary. Voters may not choose both.
Voters have until June 5 to request a mail-in absentee ballot, and through June 9 to vote in-person absentee if they have one of a number of qualifying reasons such as travel, a long workday and commute, or other obligations on Election Day when polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
No voters were waiting in line at 8 a.m. to be the first to cast in-person ballots Friday morning in Fairfax County or Alexandria. The first two voters cast ballots in Fairfax County around 9:45 a.m. — one who will be working as an election officer on primary day and another who had to be at the Government Center Friday morning for other business.
Alexandria mailed out 320 ballots as absentee voting began for its Democratic primary for mayor and city council, General Registrar Anna Leider said, with an additional 59 absentee ballots sent out for the Republican U.S. Senate race.
Alexandrians who vote in the Democratic primary can choose from 12 candidates for six spots on the City Council and between two candidates for mayor.
Vice Mayor Justin Wilson is challenging Mayor Allison Silberberg in the Democratic primary in the heavily Democratic city.
For council seats, incumbents Willie Bailey, John Taylor Chapman, Del Pepper and Paul Smedberg are joined on the Democratic ballot by Canek Aguirre, Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, Matt Feely, Dak Hardwick, Chris Hubbard, Amy Jackson, Robert Ray and Mo Seifeldein.
Councilman Tim Lovain announced last September that he would not seek another term.
In Arlington, a Democratic primary for county board pits Matt de Ferranti against Chanda Choun.
These primaries are separate from the elections in some Virginia cities and towns happening Tuesday, May 1. The final day for in-person absentee voting in those races is Saturday.
The contests include City Council and School Board in Fredericksburg and Fairfax City and town elections in Vienna, Clifton, Dumfries, Haymarket, Occoquan, Quantico, Warrenton, Lovettsville, Hamilton, Middleburg, Round Hill, Remington and the Plains.
There has also been an unusual focus on Purcellville’s town elections given recent investigations and counter investigations into top town staff.
Maryland and D.C. have separate primaries coming up.
Maryland’s Democratic primary for governor and crowded races for local offices including those in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties is set for June. 26.
The D.C. primary for mayor and council seats that also includes a vote on a minimum wage ballot initiative is June 19.