CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Over 100,000 registered Chesterfield County voters have already cast their ballots, according to General Registrar and Director of Elections Constance Hargrove.
The latest tally on voter turnout was conducted Saturday, Oct. 31.
Local election officials say another 7,000 absentee ballots could still come in on Election Night. Those absentee ballots, also referred to as mail-in ballots, will be accepted until Friday, Nov. 6.
“On Election Day, as most of you probably know, the election results start coming in immediately,” Hargrove said. “We will keep processing those ballots throughout the week, and then the final totals, of course, will be reported and certified no later than the Tuesday after the election.”
Chesterfield County residents who drop off their ballots at polling locations tomorrow can expect to see blue boxes, as opposed to the red ballot boxes that were used throughout the county’s early voting period.
County officials say polling places will be fully-staffed in order to assist voters.
“Due to the increased volume of voters voting early, we don’t need as many officers as we would’ve needed before, so there are some officers who applied that we’re not going to be using this election,” Hargrove said. “They are disappointed. We’re happy that they applied, we want them to stay around and not go away, but we’re not going to be using anywhere near the number that we anticipated we needed for this election.”
According to Chesterfield County Electoral Board Chair Susan Beals, all Officers of Election will be wearing masks, and voters are encouraged to do the same.
“When you come up to vote and present your ID, you’re going to maybe just put it up against the plexiglass that will now be between you and the Officer of Election who checks you in,” Beals said. “We also are going to have one-time use pens available at all of our polling locations, so you’ll use a pen one time to fill out your ballot and then you can take it with you, or you can deposit it in a box on your way out the door.”
Curbside voting is also an option for Chesterfield County residents over the age of 65, with a disability, or cautious of the coronavirus.
“If you are testing positive for COVID or you are quarantining due to COVID, and you find that you have gotten to Election Day and have not voted yet, we invite you to come and vote curbside on Election Day,” Beals said. “Just let the poll worker who’s serving you – let them know of your diagnosis so that they can take the appropriate safety precautions.”
County officials have coordinated with local law enforcement in advance to ensure voter safety from a non-COVID perspective, as well.
“They will be aware of what is going on on Election Day,” Beals said. “We are looking forward to a normal Election Day, as we have multiple times a year in Chesterfield County. But they are aware.”
Special precautions exist in polling places to ensure the safety of voters, including the prohibition of video recording by those casting their ballots.
“As far as the voters are concerned, we ask that they not open-carry weapons in a polling place, especially if you’re in a school,” Hargrove said. “Weapons are prohibited on school property anyway.”
Hargrove says Chesterfield County is expecting about 80 percent of registered voters to turn out, surpassing that of previous elections.
The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.