Update: 3:04 p.m.
Loudoun County General Registrar Judy Brown, just before 3 p.m., said voter turnout for today's primary elections has generally been low thus far – remaining in the single digits in many precincts.
Certain polling locations in Lovettsville and Hamilton have had relatively strong turnout for a primary election, with well more than 100 voters casting ballots by early afternoon, the registrar said.
Other areas with strictly Democratic ballots – those outside the 33rd House of Delegates District – have seen lower-than-expected turnout up to this point, Brown noted.
Responding to earlier reports that poll workers in some western Loudoun precincts told a Times-Mirror reporter they suspected Democrats of voting in the Republican primary in the 33rd District race, Brown said the workers “shouldn't be doing that.”
“All they're supposed to do is ask voters which ballot they want,” Brown said.
Update: 1:07 p.m.
West Leesburg's 501 voting precinct expects a turnout of more than 5 percent for today's Democratic primaries. Shortly after noon, Precinct Chief Bob Merhaut said 112 voters, or 4 percent of the district's voting population, had already cast ballots.
Though no voters had stopped by in the last 15 minutes, Merhaut estimated at least 200 citizens will vote at his precinct.
“This is a pretty good precinct,” Merhaut said. During last year's presidential election, West Leesburg experienced an 80 percent voter turnout.
Overall, the morning has gone smooth, though there has been some confusion about the nature of the primaries, Merhaut said.
“A lot of people are thinking that, coming in, they'll vote for Joe May,” he said. “People put up signs in their yard for Joe May to support him, but they can't vote for him” because they don't live in the House of Delegates 33rd District.
Update: 11:32 a.m.
The following are voter turnout reports from Loudoun precincts:
-Precinct 401 (West Lovettsville) – 3 percent turnout; 75 Republican ballots; 12 Democrat. According to the precinct chief, West Lovettsville is an early bird voting district. She estimated it'll be lucky to break 5 percent turnout.
-Precinct 411 (East Lovettsville) – 2.7 percent turnout; 48 Republican ballots; 14 Democrat. Precinct chief predicts about 8-10 percent turnout.
-Precinct 402 (Waterford) -- Just more than 3 percent turnout; 81 ballots. Precinct chief said, "The Republican votes have far exceeded the Democrat votes"
-Precinct 409 (Leesburg) – 4.5 percent turnout; 100 Republican ballots, 23 Democrat. Poll workers said, "It's been surprisingly steady.”
-A number of election officials said they believe many Democrats are crossing party lines to keep incumbent Del. Joe May in office, therefore the Democrat vote in western Loudoun has been low. Campaign volunteers for May's challenger, Dave LaRock, were present at all but precinct 401, which had a May volunteer.
-At the Algonkian Precinct, by 9:30 a.m. 10 voters had cast ballots in the Democratic race.
-Power was out briefly at polling location Belmont Station Elementary School in Ashburn, but didn't deter any voters from casting a ballot. Loudoun County General Registrar Judy Brown said the power was quickly restored.
Background: Primary Day in Virginia
Today's election will finalize the Democratic Party of Virginia's statewide ticket. Unchallenged, Northern Virginia businessman and politician Terry McAulliffe has been certified as the gubernatorial nominee.
In the Democrats' lieutenant governor's race, state Sen. Ralph Northam of Norfolk, a doctor, is facing Aneesh Chopra, who previously served as the nation's first chief technology officer and a former secretary of technology in Virginia.
For the Dems' attorney general nomination, state Sen. Mark Herring, of Loudoun, is squaring off against former federal prosecutor Justin Fairfax, of Annandale.
Two Fairfax County Democrats are vying for a chance to unseat the six-term Republican Del. Tom Rust, with Jennifer Boysko, a former aide to Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville), facing defense contractor Herb Kemp in an 86th District primary.
Locally, only western Loudoun voters will have a chance to cast a GOP ballot. Two-decade Republican incumbent state Del. Joe May is facing a primary challenge from Hamilton's Dave LaRock in the 33rd district composed predominantly of western Loudoun County.
Virginia holds open-party primaries, meaning voters can cast ballots in either the Republican or the Democratic race, but not both.
Republicans already nominated their statewide candidates through an activist-led convention in May. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is the right's nominee for governor, while E.W. Jackson won the lieutenant governor's nod and state Sen. Mark Obenshain earned the attorney general bid.