Follow along as the Loudoun Times-Mirror updates this story throughout the day with short vignettes on Election Day throughout the county. This story will be repeatedly updated, so make sure to keep checking in.
According to the Loudoun County Elections and Voter Registration Facebook page in its final update of the evening, approximately 29% of Loudoun County's 291,339 registered voters had cast their vote in person by 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
These voters are added to the 12% of voters who cast their vote before Tuesday via in-person early voting, and an additional 4% of voters whose mail-in ballots have already been processed.
All told, roughly 45% of registered voters in Loudoun County have voted so far, according to these numbers.
Purcellville gets steady stream of voters
At Emerick Elementary School in Purcellville, voter turnout is also steady according to Chief Precinct Officer Sharon Cline. As of 1:45 p.m., there were 1046 voters in addition to the estimated 1,200 early ballots.
Purcellville residents are casting their ballots for three seats on town council as well as a new mayor.
— Karen Graham
Leesburg voters at Harper Middle School and Ashburn voters at Stone Bridge High School say what motivated them to vote
Republican volunteer Debbie Justice who lives in the River Creek neighborhood of Leesburg was handing out sample ballots and collecting signatures to recall Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney Buta Biberaj.
For 26-year old IT professional Ryan Bateman, social issues such as abortion rights matter in this election. Bateman, who lives behind the Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn said he voted for Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton and not for GOP challenger Hung Cao. "I just don't agree with some of the things he says," Bateman said.
Like Bateman, Wexton's issues align with 37-year old Jessica Berg, who brought her 6-year-old daughter Harper with her to vote at the Harper Middle School. Berg teaches English and gender studies at Rock Ridge High School in Brambleton, and said she is concerned about book bans and testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in April.
Loyalties were on display at these precincts as Muhammad Awan, 65, a retiree said he has always voted for Democrats.
Likewise, Bill McNaught, 75, an environmental economics professor, and his wife Lyn Macolini, 72, declared they are "diehard democrats. Macolini, who originally hails from Boston and is a community social worker, said they cannot imagine voting outside the party.
On the other side of the divide, Stacey Leggat, who works in sales and lives in the Potomac Station community, said she voted for Cao.
"I am very concerned about inflation, too much spending, increase in crime and what is going on in schools."
Leggat who described herself as a conservative said Cao supports her values.
Both Democrat and Republican volunteers were enjoying the sunshine and breeze outside the Stone Bridge High School.
Ashburn resident Mike Ashwell who was handing out GOP sample ballots with Lansdowne resident Rick Buck, the weather was cooperating as voters are coming in steady waves.
Democratic volunteer Sofia Saiyed, 34, who described herself as a community organizer, came from Reston in nearby Fairfax County to distribute ballots at Stone Ridge. For her and Varsha Patil, 60, the issues of affordable health care were paramount.
— Amena Saiyid
Hillsboro sees many first-time voters
In Hillsboro at the Old Stone School, voting has been brisk all day, according to Chief Precinct Officer Louise Cantrell-Kehoe.
As of 12:40 p.m., there were 789 in person voters out of about 2,300 registered, she said.
"We have had a lot of first-time voters this year," she said.
The tradition in Hillsboro is when a voter casts their ballot for the first time, they ring the bell at the Old Stone School with Mayor Roger Vance.
18-year-old Wyatt Adams, a senior at Woodgrove High School, was among the first-time voters this year.
Vance said he has rung the bell with at least 10 people today and enjoys the tradition.
Residents in Hillsboro are electing five members of town council and a mayor, all through a write-in ballot.
— Karen Graham
Lovettsville turns out
At Lovettsville Elementary School, Precinct Chief Lauranne Oliveau reported there was a steady flow of voters beginning early in the morning. As of about noon, there were 673 voters in person, she said.
First-time voter Mikaela Fairbanks said she felt it was important to vote in this election due to several national issues, including a woman's right to choose, climate change and the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Voters at the other Lovettsville precinct at the fire station were also steady, with 788 in-person voters as of noon out of 4,101 registered.
"There has been a long line all day," said Precinct Chief Laura Spellings.
Voter Rose Marie Willis told the Times-Mirror she is concerned about the direction the country is going and in particular, she worries about crime and the increase in fuel and food costs.
Lovettsville Mayoral candidate Chris Hornbaker is running unopposed and was on hand at the precinct to answer questions from voters.
He says the priorities are to maintain the small town feel in Lovettsville and to continue with sidewalk projects and other streetscape improvements.
There are three candidates for town council, with three seats open, he said.
Robert "Bobby" Merhaut is running for a seat on the Lovettsville Town Council. He said he has lived in the town for 11 years and is a Loudoun County native.
"I like the small town atmosphere and want to keep it that way," Merhaut said.
— Karen Graham
Early morning voters come to polls in Sterling
A steady trickle of voters seen at Algonkian and Lowes Island elementary schools in Sterling between 8:30 and 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Democratic volunteers Eva Mendoza and Marjorie Shepard stood braving the chilly wind handing out sample ballots at the Algonkian Elementary School.
Jerry, an election officer who declined to share his last name out of fear of reprisals, sat next to a drop box for voters who forgot to mail in their ballots.
Jeff Keiling, of Sterling, who owns a remodeling business in Purcellville voted at Algonkian Elementary for "change."
He said he is reluctant to share which party he supports because of impacts on his business.
"There are three things we don't discuss with our customers or at our dinner table: Religion, politics and sports," Keiling said.
In contrast, Larry Johnson had no qualms about sharing that he voted for retired U.S. Navy Capt. Hung Cao because of his military service.
"He came to this country as an immigrant and is living the American dream," Johnson said, adding that he is concerned about the Biden administration's tax-and-spend policies and inflation. He said he is also concerned about the size of the government.
— Amena Saiyid
Wexton casts vote Tuesday morning
Rep. Jennifer Lynn Wexton, D-Leesburg, was cautiously optimistic after voting at Loudoun County High School at 7 a.m. on Election Day on Tuesday.
Wexton, who took office in 2019, said her campaign has made outreach to swing voters who may be considering voting Republican because of high food and gas prices. Wexton said she's conscious of household pocketbook concerns. She voted for the American Rescue Plan, a COVID-19 recovery bill that included $1,400 stimulus checks and unemployment extensions and the Inflation Reduction Act which raises taxes on the wealthy while lowering energy and health care costs.
“We’re trying to turn out every vote,” she said. “And make people understand that the issues aren’t just about the prices today, but democracy in the future as well.”
The latter comment was a reference to Republican election deniers. The Washington Post reported there are 291 on the ballot including Republican Hung Cao, who opposes Wexton in the reconfigured 10th congressional district. Cao told the Loudoun Times-Mirror in September that President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was the legitimate president, but he has previously questioned the 2020 election results.
In a May 15 YouTube video, Cao said there were “all these fraudulent things” involved with mail-in ballots. Cao said he wants to eliminate early voting and said voters should have to dip their thumbs in ink after voting like voters in Iraq do to prevent voter fraud.
In 18 of the last 20 midterm elections, the president’s party has lost seats in Congress and Wexton said she’s worried about what happens if Republicans gain control of the 435-seat House of Representatives. Democrats currently have an eight-seat majority and there are three vacant seats.
If Republicans win the majority, Wexton said she’ll still try to pass bipartisan legislation, but will probably vote against more bills. Republicans have threatened to impeach Biden and refuse to raise the federal debt ceiling limit which could result in a default on debts and cost $15 trillion in household wealth and 6 million jobs, according to a study by Moody’s Analytics, a financial analysis company.
“I’m very worried about them holding the debt ceiling hostage to extract concessions on Medicare and Medicaid,” she said. “And also, playing games with the full faith and credit of the United States of America. We can’t let that happen.”
Wexton called the idea of impeaching Biden ridiculous.
“It’s going to be nothing but Hunter Biden’s laptop for the next two years because they have no actual agenda,” she said. “Other than to eliminate Social Security and Medicare.”
— Evan Goodenow
Leesburg voters talk issues
Judy Kinzler grew up in South Korea under the threat of an invasion by communist North Korea. So Kinzler, a 65-year-old sales associate who came to the U.S. in 1979, said she identifies with Hung Cao, the Republican challenging Rep. Jennifer Lynn Wexton, D-Leesburg, in the 10th congressional district. Cao and his family fled the communist invasion that reunified Vietnam and ended the Vietnam War in 1975.
“He does not want the communists coming into this land and I don’t want that,” said Kinzler who said she regularly votes for Republican. “[Republicans] want to do what God wants us to do more than Democrats.”
Amanda Kinzler, a 39-year-old receptionist and Judy Kinzler's daughter, said she usually votes straight Republican. She supports Cao’s opposition to gun control and his call for reducing spending including money for Ukraine to repel Russia. The U.S. has spent sent about $16.2 billion in weapons for Ukraine since the Feb. 24 invasion.
“When you start giving too much, you’re bleeding yourself dry,” said Amanda Kinzler, who emphasized she's sympathetic to the plight of the Ukrainian people. “Right now, America’s hurting a lot.”
— Evan Goodenow