The polls have closed, but stay with us through the night as we post results when they come in from the state Board of Elections. A few of the races within our coverage area we anticipate being tight include the attorney general's race between Loudoun state Sen. Mark Herring and Harrisonburg state Sen. Mark Obenshain; the House of Delegates 87th District between Republican David Ramadan and Democrat John Bell; and the House of Delegates 34th District between Republican Barbara Comstock and Democrat Kathleen Murphy.
While those are a few contests we expect to be narrowly decided, we're eager to see if a surprise or two comes our way.
Chris Nicholson of Sterling, right, hands a sample Republican ballot to a voter while Truxtun Gossen, 18, of South Riding, hands her a sample ballot for Ramadan and the debt for park facilities bond issue at Claude Moore Park in Sterling in the afternoon of Nov. 5. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
Joan Kowalski of Sterling hands a sample Democratic ballot to a voter while Chris Nicholson of Sterling, second from left, prepares to hand her a sample Republican ballot at Claude Moore Park in Sterling in the afternoon of Nov. 5. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
Russ Loveless looks up after voting at Claude Moore Park in Sterling in the afternoon of Nov. 5. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
Joan Kowalski of Sterling, left, hands a sample Democratic ballot to a voter while Chris Nicholson of Sterling, right, prepares to hand her a sample Republican ballot at Claude Moore Park in Sterling in the afternoon of Nov. 5. They said the signs of both their parties were taken down throughout the park and they made a bipartisan effort to put them all back up near the entrance, alternating signs for Democrat and Republican candidates. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
Election volunteer Mary Rudiak waits to help voters enter their paper ballots into the machine at Claude Moore Park in Sterling around 5 p.m. on Nov. 5. She arrived at 5 a.m. and will stay until 9 p.m. She said two of their three computers used for checking in voters have been down all day. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
A boy waits as his mom checks in to vote at Claude Moore Park in Sterling around 5 p.m. on Nov. 5. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
Election volunteer Dave Johnson assists voters at Claude Moore Park in Sterling around 5 p.m. on Nov. 5. At that time 333 paper ballots and 212 electronic ballots had been cast there. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
One conservative advocate is courting the car-lover vote outside the East Leesburg precinct at Frances Hazel Reid Elementary School. Times-Mirror Photo/Trevor Baratko
So far, so good at East and West Leesburg precincts
Two Loudoun County precinct chiefs were keeping their fingers crossed around 3:30 p.m. with hopes the remainder of Election Day would go as smooth as had the morning and post-lunch hour crowds.
At Frances Hazel Reid Elementary School, the East Leesburg polling location, Precinct Chief Richard Claar said he's been a bit surprised at how robust voter turnout had been. Fifteen or 20 people were waiting at the door when polls opened at 6 a.m., he said.
Claar predicted voter turnout to hit or surpass the 40 percent mark, which was the final tally in the state's 2009 gubernatorial election.
The East Leesburg precinct was one of several in Loudoun County that experienced minor problems with its voter check-in computers earlier in the day, but Claar said the glitch didn't turn away any voters.
The precinct chief stressed the machines that malfunctioned weren't electronic ballots, but the logbooks to check in voters. Moreover, only two of the four logbooks were down for a brief period.
Just down the road outside Ida Lee Recreation Center, the West Leesburg polling place, Democrats and Republicans continued handing out campaign literature for their preferred candidate as voters strolled inside.
At Ida Lee, Precinct Chief Uma Marquez said turnout has been brisk.
“Today has been very good,” Marquez, a first-time precinct chief, said. “We had a good rush in the morning, and we're going to expect another rush later in the evening after work.”
As was the case at East Leesburg, Marquez said there was a line of people outside waiting for the doors to open at 6 a.m.
Slow and steady 4:30 p.m.
In Aesop's fable the idea is slow and steady wins the race. It was the same phrase that both Mary Lemaster and Gary Kavanagh, precinct chiefs at the 303rd and 310th precincts, respectively, used to describe the voters they had been seeing all day.
The 303rd precinct and the 310th precinct are in Purcellville.
Kavanagh estimated that he had seen about 100 voters per hour, with a little more than 800 voters having voted at 3:20 p.m. out of a possible 2,945.
Similarly Mary Lemaster had seen around 730 voters of a possible 2,348 in the 303rd. Lemaster and Kavanagh had seen no problems with their computers and said that traffic in and out was running smoothly.
The turnout was about what the two had expected to this point and both see a bump in people coming in after they get off from work.
So who will be the tortoise and who will be the hare in this election? Find out when we roll out the results in real time as they come in from the precincts at loudountimes.com later this evening.
A voter casts a ballot at Old Stone School in Purcellville. Times-Mirror Staff Photos/Ben Hancock
Mountain View Elementary School in Purcellville has seen a steady stream of voters today.
Few technical problems and sporadic turnout Update: 4:12 p.m.
Loudoun General Registrar Judy Brown spoke with the Times-Mirror shortly before 4 p.m. After some initial morning problems with voter registration laptops at some precincts, Election Day 2013 appears to be going off without a hitch.
Noting that “everything seems to be working,” representatives from the Registrar’s Office have been visiting each of the impacted polling places to verify.
“Everything is going smooth,” said Brown.
Brown also said that she received some precinct turnout reports around 1 p.m. Most precincts at that time were reporting between 19 and 26 percent turnout. Even so, the Round Hill precinct was already above 30 percent.
A regular concern for the Registrar’s Office is the amount of precinct workers to help out at the polls. Brown said there were a couple locations where an extra hand would have been helpful, but the issue shouldn’t hurt the amount of time it takes to vote.
Earlier in the year, residents of the South Riding area received mail postcards asking for precinct volunteers and received a “great response,” according to Brown. She expects that similar outreach will be conducted elsewhere in the county.
“We’ve got to let people known when we need volunteers,” she said.
Brown joked that her office had received several offers during the government shutdown, but those potential poll workers are now back at their jobs.
Five questions with Charlie King of the 10th District Republican Committee 4 p.m.
Charlie King, Loudoun attorney and member of the 10th District Republican Committee, joined the Loudoun Times-Mirror to live stream a discussion with editor-in-chief John Geddie.
2:30 p.m. An afternoon at the polls
Robin Rackley takes her paper ballot to the ballot boxes at Steuart W. Weller Elementary School in Ashburn Nov. 5. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
Election volunteer Pat Brock signals to a voter to proceed to check in at Steuart W. Weller Elementary School in Ashburn Nov. 5. Brock arrived at 5 a.m. for her fourth year of volunteering. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
Voters cast their ballots at Steuart W. Weller Elementary School in Ashburn Nov. 5. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
A tale of two precincts 2:20 p.m.
In only its second year, Arcola precinct 119 at Arcola Elementary School in Stone Ridge is still getting its feet wet when it comes to Election Day in Virginia.
But give it time.
Zareen Shaah, precinct chief, said as of 12:45 p.m. there were no problems and a line of people greeted her at the door at 6 a.m.
After the morning rush, voters could be seen coming in one at a time. But Shaah expects that to change by 5 p.m. when many get off work.
Only a few miles away, at Mercer Middle School, there still was a steady stream of people at 1 p.m. Open since at least 2007 in the Dulles South area, where houses are built what seems like daily, the precinct had already seen a more than 20 percent turnout.
Del. David Ramadan campaign workers, from left to right, Pravallika Brita, Priyanka Brita and Paige Camlin speak with veteran Republican campaign volunteer Dean Coursen during a break Nov. 5.Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Crystal Owens
“It's been very smooth, a very, very strong turnout for an off-year election,” said Precinct Chief David Hoffman.
Hoffman has worked at the precinct since it opened. He believes the strong turnout equates to residents' strong opinions this year.
“People are going to make sure that their opinions are heard through the power of their vote,” he said.
“In my experience, when people come in like this, undeterred, they want to make a point,” he continued. “They're expecting to exercise their authority to the powers that work for us.”
Residents in the Dulles South area are casting ballots today for two bond referendums that, if approved, would directly affect them: improvements to the Dulles South Multi-Purpose Center and additions to Mercer Middle School.
“Politics here are very local,” Hoffman said. “There's not a national agenda in this area.”
-- Crystal Owens
To view #LTMelection 2013 morning coverage, click here.