Tuesday’s Virginia primary expected to bring pre-pandemic crowds to the polls

Cheryl Terio-Simon casts her ballot at the community center in Lake Anne Plaza as voters take to the polls for the Virginia primary elections on Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in Reston, VA. Several Democratic incumbents are being challenged from the left by progressives, while three Republican incumbents who voted with Democrats to expand Medicaid are facing challenges from the right. (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)(The Washington Post via Getty Im/The Washington Post)
While tens of thousands of Virginians already voted early ahead of the primary election on Tuesday, the turnout for people casting ballots in person is expected to look more like it did before the coronavirus pandemic.

“I suspect that the bulk of the voters will be voting tomorrow as they traditionally have,” said Fairfax County General Registrar Scott Konopasek. “With the vaccine and the changes to the mask mandate and social distancing, it makes things a lot easier.”

During November’s presidential election, a massive number of early voters made the process of counting ballots more complicated and uncertain on election night, but Konopasek said that he does not expect that to be the case this time.

Voters will choose Democratic candidates for statewide offices including governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general.

There are also primaries in various house of delegates races, a county board position in Arlington and for mayor and city council in Alexandria.

Republicans already picked their statewide candidates during a convention last month, choosing Glenn Youngkin for governor, Winsome Sears for lieutenant governor and Jason Miyares for attorney general.

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Voters heading to the polls on Tuesday are strongly encouraged to wear a mask, although it is not required.

The state’s elections department confirmed to WTOP that “the constitutional right to vote eclipses any mask requirement.”

In-person early voting ended on Saturday, but if voters are still holding on to a ballot that was mailed to them, they can drop it off at a drop box, their general registrar’s office or their polling location on Election Day.

Technically, voters can still mail their ballot in, even this late in the game.

“That’s the riskiest way to return your ballot, but it is possible,” Konopasek said.

Ballots need to be postmarked by Election Day and received no later than by noon on Friday.

Polling places are open from 6 a.m. — 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Those voting in person will be asked to provide an acceptable form of identification at the polls.

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Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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