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Election Day: Voters Get Their Say In Local, State Races

© Leesburg Today - 11/03/2015

Update: The polls are quieter so far today than Loudoun County General Registrar Judy Brown would have hoped, but she's optimistic more residents will vote before polls close at 7 p.m.

As of 1 p.m., just less than 15 percent of registered voters had turned up to vote, she said. That's with 89 of the county's 93 precincts reporting.

Brown initially predicted a turnout of 30 to 40 percent.

""I'm still hopeful we'll see a rise this evening,"" she said. ""But it will be tough to get to that 30 percent point.""

Original story:

Loudoun voters head to the polls today to choose their representatives on the Board of Supervisors and School Board, as well as to select members of the General Assembly and the managers of the county's constitutional offices.

Also on the ballot are two bond questions and the election for the county's Soil and Water Conservation District.

Countywide, there are more than 75 candidates in the running for 41 seats in local and state government.

Individual ballots will be decidedly less complicated-pick 14 people and answer ""yes"" or ""no"" to two debt questions.

Each voter will be asked to select two representatives on the Board of Supervisors, for chairman and district; two school board representatives, for the at large and district seats; a state senator; a state delegate; a sheriff; a commonwealth's attorney; county treasurer; a commissioner of the revenue; a clerk of the circuit court; and three board members for the Soil and Water Conservation District. The two bond questions are to authorize borrowing for school construction ($151 million) and fire-rescue equipment ($2.9 million).

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters will be required to show a photo ID prior to receiving a ballot. Voters also are encouraged to confirm their precinct information and poll location in advance, as there have been a number of changes in recent years. That information can be found at loudoun.gov/voting.

Four years ago, record-low turnout resulted in a sweeping Republican win, with the GOP taking every seat on the Board of Supervisors for the first time, holding on to the constitutional offices, and locking down most of the statehouse seats.

Democrats have fared better in subsequent elections, as Loudoun voters backed President Barack Obama and Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Those elections had higher voter participation and Loudoun County Voter Registrar Judy Brown is optimistic that there will be more interest in the local and state races this year. Her office was predicting a turnout of 30 to 40 percent.

""In 2011, we had about 28 percent turnout,"" Brown said in an email. ""When you only have one person running for an office, people don't often see the need to show up and vote. This year, most of the races, there are at least two people running and several exciting races, as well.""

There are 215,599 registered voters in Loudoun County. The largest district is Blue Ridge, with 33,643 voters. Sterling has the fewest, at 21,134.

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The most heated race has been for the at-large chairman seat on the Board of Supervisors-where four-term incumbent Scott K. York, running as an independent, faces three challengers: Democrat Phyllis Randall, Republican Charles King, and independent Tom E. Bellanca. Four years ago, York, running as a Republican, beat Bellanca, running as a Democrat, by a margin of nearly two-to-one. No one is predicting a runaway race this time, with some county supervisors describing the race at too close to call on the eve of balloting.

Another high profile contest has been for the sheriff's post. Incumbent Republican Mike Chapman in the spring turned away an intraparty challenge from one of his former commanders who was highly critical of his management style. After Chapman won the party nomination, former Republican Sheriff Steve O. Simpson jumped into the race as an independent. Chapman beat Simpson, then a four-term incumbent, by about 9,000 votes in 2011. Democrat Brian Allman is making his first run for office, pledging to lead the conversion to a county police office.

At the state level, Democrats are hopeful of picking up a seat that would give them control of the senate. A key race in that effort is B. Jill McCabe's challenge to Richard H. ""Dick"" Black in the 13th District.

All 140 General Assembly seats are up for election. Currently, Republican's hold a slim majority in the senate, 21-19. If Democrats gain only one seat statewide, they can gain the upper hand with Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam (D) breaking-tie votes. Hoping to generate more votes for McCabe, McAuliffe, Northam and Attorney General Mark R. Herring plan a campaign stop in Ashburn on Tuesday morning to support her campaign.

McCabe, a Loudoun pediatrician, is making her first run for public office. Black represented Loudoun in the House of Delegates for four terms before being defeated by Democrat David Poison in 2005. Black returned to Loudon six years later and won the newly created 13th Senate District, garnering 54 percent of the vote in the race with businessman J. Shawn Mitchell, a Democrat.

Check back for live election-night updates on all the races at leesburgtoday.com.

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