Election Day ends with uncertainty and frustration across Virginia

2020 Election
Sign at the Cedarafield polling precinct

Sign at the Cedarafield polling precinct

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Election Day is one of the most anticipated days of the year. And in true 2020 fashion, voters wrapped up the day with uncertainty and frustration. Polls closed in Virginia at 7 p.m., yet winners in major local and national races had not been announced as the day came to an end.

The 8News team collected photos and stories throughout the day that are collected in the updates below. For more updates, visit our Election 2020 page, and check out the latest election results. And if you have an Election Day tip or issue to report, email us at news@wric.com.

11 p.m.

Results for more than 2.5 million early voters in Virginia will be added to the total of votes cast today.

Virginia Department of Elections gave local elections officials until 11 p.m. Tuesday to count ballots received during early voting. 

As of 11 p.m., the Richmond mayoral race remains close with incumbent Levar Stoney in possession of six districts. “While we are still watching the results closely, it is clear that the Mayor is the only candidate in the race with a coalition to win five out of nine districts,” Stoney’s campaign manager said in a statement.

In another contested race, Nick Freitas has the lead over Abigail Spanberger in Louisa, Culpepper, Orange, Goochland and Nottoway counties in a battle for Virginia’s 7th district congressional seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Senator Mark Warner has been reelected for a third six-year term as one of Virginia’s top officials. Republican challenger Daniel Gade insists the fight is not over, however, challenging the Associated Press’ calling of the race.

10:45 p.m.

8News reporter Ben Dennis reports Richmond mayoral race numbers are coming in at a much greater pace after a longstanding delay.

The Richmond Registrar now reports more than 21,600 votes have been recorded in the city’s mayoral race. As of 10:45 p.m., Mayor Levar Stoney holds six of the nine districts (3,5,6,7,8 and 9).

Gray follows with two districts (1 and 4) and Rodgers with one (2).

10:25 p.m.

New numbers in Richmond mayoral, with the city’s registrar reporting Kim Gray is up in votes.

According to 8News reporter Ben Dennis, the Richmond Registrar now reports more than 12,000 votes have been tallied in the city’s mayoral race.

Challenger Kim Gray is ahead in the citywide vote, while incumbent Levar Stoney and candidate Alexsis Rodgers remain close.

AS of 10:25 p.m., Stoney carried four of the nine districts, Gray has two and Rodgers has one.

10 p.m.

A crowd is gathered at Richmond City Hall. (Photo: Alex Thorson)

As votes continue to be tallied for the 2020 Presidential Election, a crowd has gathered at Richmond City Hall on Election Night.

The crowd can be heard chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “Breonna Taylor.” Richmond Police officers are reportedly stationed on the street corners around City Hall.

Nearby, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) officials issued a Tuesday night advisory of public assembly at the MCV Campus on East Broad Street. 

Click here for more information.

9:45 p.m.

Two and a half hours after Virginia polls closed, Richmond’s mayoral race remains at a standstill with stalled reporting from the city’s registrar’s office.

Around 8 p.m., one hour after polls closed, the registrar’s office reported 6,731 votes cast in the mayoral race. By 9:45 p.m., no update had followed.

Throughout this time, the registrar reported incumbent Mayor Levar Stoney with 33.23% of the vote, Kim Gray with 30.16%, and Alexsis Rodgers receiving 24.14 %.

9:19 p.m.

8News reporter Talya Cunningham continues to track the 7th District Congressional race between Abigail Spanberger and Nick Freitas.

As of 9:19 p.m., Nick Freitas leads the race with roughly 60% of the vote. The Virginia Department of Election also reports Freitas winning Louisa, Orange, and Culpeper counties.

Click here for the latest updates on the battle for Virginia’s 7th district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

9:08 p.m.

Richmond Mayoral Candidates
Richmond Mayoral Candidates

Richmond City Registrar data for the city’s mayoral race has stalled for more than an hour, reports 8News’ Ben Dennis.

The mayor’s race is not decided on a popular vote win, rather, a candidate must carry five of nine council districts.

8:48 p.m.

Clarence Shields, an Army veteran. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

A proposed constitutional amendment asking Virginia voters to decide on a vehicle tax exemption has been approved.

According to the Associated Press, under the new proposed law, veteran motor vehicles would be exempt from taxation beginning on the date the veteran gets the motor vehicle or January 1, 2021, whichever is later. 

Click here to read more.

8:06 p.m.

According to the Associated Press, Democrat Donald Beyer wins reelection to U.S. House in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District.

8:04 p.m.

According to the Associated Press, Republican Robert Wittman wins reelection to U.S. House in Virginia’s 1st Congressional District.

Click here for updated 2020 Election Results

7:58 p.m.

A roughly 7-truck “Trump Train” was captured driving through Short Pump in Henrico a mere moments after Virginia was declared for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

7:36 p.m.

The state of Virginia was called for Democrat Joe Biden, according to the Associated Press, The presidential candidate will pocket 13 electoral votes for his win in the commonwealth.

To win the presidency, 270 electoral votes must be registered.

7:01 p.m.

According to the Associated Press, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has defeated Republican challenger Daniel Gade and will have a third term in the U.S. Senate,

A victory for Warner, a former Virginia governor who serves as vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, extends Republicans’ losing streak in statewide races, which has lasted over a decade. Minutes after the AP called the race, Warner shared a “Thank You, Virginia” tweet.

7:00 p.m.

Polling stations in Virginia have now closed.

6:45 p.m.

Reporter Olivia Jaquith is at Nuckols Elementary School in Henrico County and says the polling station is almost at 100% voter turnout. She says the location has received about 2,021 absentee ballots and 1,183 people came out to vote Tuesday, out of 3,600 people.

6 p.m.

The deadline to vote in Virginia is drawing near.  In-person votes will end at 7 p.m. All voters who are in line before the deadline is allowed to cast their votes.

In-person voted will be reported first followed by an early-in person and mail ballot figure.

Vote counting is expected to continue into Wednesday.

5:35 p.m.

Virginia Commonwealth University student Grace Wynn, with VCU Aspire, speaks to reporter 8News reporter Olivia Jaquith at Imperial Plaza, an assisted living facility in Richmond, about city council candidates and the general election.

5:15 p.m.

John Rolfe Middle School is one of the largest polling sites in Henrico County. Today they have seen seen 750 voters throughout the day, 500 of which came to vote between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. These numbers are lower than previous presidential elections due to early voting.

4 p.m.

The Virginia Department of Elections gave an update at 4 p.m. about how things are going at polls across the state. Overall they said voting was going smoothly.

“So far so good,” said Chris Piper, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections.

While there haven’t been long lines, Piper said the VDE expects there to be more voters out from 5-7 p.m.

He said localities have a cut off time of 11 p.m. to stop processing ballots and to report those numbers — but counting will resume on Wednesday.

Absentee ballots will be accepted until Nov. 6 a noon if they are postmarked on or before election day. Because of this, Piper said counting will continue throughout the week. He said all localities will finalize their counts by Nov. 10 and the State Election Board will meet on Nov. 16 for the final certification.

Piper said there haven’t been any widespread issues with people not wanting to wear a facemask to the polls. State guidelines instruct poll workers to offer a free mask to voters who show up without one. If a voter declines, he said they would then be encouraged to vote curbside.

He added Kanye West’s name is still on the ballot in two localities in the Commonwealth. Piper said the districts who still have his name on the ballot must tell voters he was disqualified — which he says they have.

3:40 p.m.

Clover Hill High SChool polling place on Nov. 3, 2020
Clover Hill High School has had 586 ballots cast as of 3 p.m. (Photo: Olivia Jaquith)

Clover Hill High School is quiet this afternoon. Poll workers told 8News said they had the bulk of their voters come when polls first opened, and since then people have been trickling in.

As of 3 p.m. 586 ballots cast at that polling place.

1:55 p.m.

Some voters in Hopewell, Virginia, encountered an unexpected question this morning when they checked in to vote. They were asked to declare a political party affiliation.

According to Shannon Wood, a voter in Hopewell’s first ward, she and her son, a first-time voter, were asked to choose between the Republican and Democratic parties after they presented their IDs while checking in to vote.

Norman Shelton Jr., Hopewell’s Director of Elections and General Registrar, confirmed that party affiliation was asked this morning saying that the question was a mistake.

“It did happen, and I resolved that problem,” said Shelton.   

According to Shelton, the electronic poll book had a glitch and the step that required voters to choose a political party was not removed from the system before voting began. We spoke with Shelton around 1:30 p.m. and he said that the issue had been resolved four or five hours earlier.

Polls opened at 6 a.m. According to Shelton’s timeline, voters encountered the issue until about 8:30 or 9:30 a.m.

Shelton explained that this glitch will not prevent ballots from being counted.

“This will not affect votes,” he said.

When asked, Shelton was unable to provide the number of voters who encountered the party affiliation question while voting this morning. He said, however, that it “wasn’t that many (voters).”

1 p.m.

This was 76-year-old Jean Ward’s first time voting. She had to complete a provisional ballot because her name was not in the poll book, however, election officers said her vote will count. (Photo: Rachel Keller)

76-year-old Richmond woman votes for the first time after having her rights restored. Jean Ward headed to the polls early Tuesday morning to get her vote in. Because her name was not in the poll book she had to vote using a provisional ballot. Stay tuned for her story at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on 8News.

12:45 p.m.

Reporter Tyler Thrasher canvassed the Richmond area on Tuesday morning checking in at polling locations and talking with election officials about turnout and event at the polls.

12:40 p.m.

Central Virginia election day
About 25 people lined up outside of the North Courthouse Rd Library in Chesterfield. (Photo: Autumn Childress)

Chesterfield County reported they had nearly 27,000 voters turn out so far today as of 10:25 a.m. this morning.

12 p.m.

The last day of early voting in Henrico County had lines around the registrar’s office. (Photo: Amanda Ritenour)

According to Mark J Coakley, Director of Elections/Registrar for Henrico, 50 percent of county residents voted early in this election. About 21 percent of those voters mailed in their ballot and 30 percent voted early in person.

During the last day of early voting in Henrico County, there were long lines around the Registrar’s office until it closed at 5 p.m.

Alexandra Botts, Hanover County’s Absentee Coordinator & Security Specialist, said more than 44,000 people voted before election day — 32,133 in person and 12,470 by mail.

11 a.m.

The Virginia Department of Elections said at no point was voting interrupted in Virginia this morning.

According to VDE, as of last night, Virginia had 5.9 million registered voters in the Commonwealth.

This year through Saturday, 2.7 million Virginians had already voted. Nearly 1.8 million of those ballots were cast in person. VDE said they received 956,000 absentee ballots. This means 46 percent of registered voters in Virginia have already voted.

“The enthusiasm Virginians showed for casting early ballots is unprecedented,” Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections, Chris Piper said.

Piper said there have been no reports of voter intimidation at the polls. Some polls did experience minor issues including machines that were not operating, but the Virginia Department of Elections said they haven’t had any indication that voters were turned away.

The process for ballot counting and results will be discussed during the next VDE update at 4 p.m.

10:30 a.m.

Powhatan High School has seen 273 voters as of 10:15 a.m. Election officials told 8News this polling place has only had a 1.2% voter turnout so far today because so many people participated in early voting.

A voter said no line made the process “swift and easy.”

9:30 A.M.

People are voting in under five minutes at the Main Library in Richmond. (Photo: Delaney Hall)

Elections officer Carolyn Moseley told 8News Reporter Delaney Hall that 205 people have voted so far at the Main Library in Richmond.

She says that’s low for a presidential election, but attributes the high number of absentee ballots already cast. It’s taking people under five minutes to get in and cast their vote.

In Chesterfield County at Matoaca High School, 170 people have voted as of 9:20 a.m. The Chief Election Officer at this location says she’s hoping the day doesn’t drag on.

8:46 A.M.

As of 8:45 a.m., 449 people voted at the Woolridge Elementary School location in Chesterfield County. (Photo: Tyler Thrasher)

Lines have dwindled at Woolridge Elementary in Chesterfield County. Election officials at the polling location said 449 people have voted since the polls opened at 6 a.m.

8 A.M.

In Henrico County at John Rolfe Middle School, Chief Election Officer Wayne Carter says that they’ve had 223 people vote in the first hour and a half.

He says that’s about normal for a presidential election, despite how many have voted early.

7 A.M.

Social distancing guidelines in place at Chesterfield voting precincts. (Photo: Autumn Childress)

To help slow the spread of coronavirus during the elections, all voters and poll workers are encouraged to wear masks. In Chesterfield, there are social distancing markers on the floor and poll workers are disinfecting pens after every use.

Social distancing guidelines in place at Chesterfield voting precincts. (Photo: Autumn Childress)

6 A.M.

Polls have opened in Virginia. People were waiting in line before polls opened at multiple voting precincts across Central Virginia.

More than 2.7 million voters in the commonwealth have already cast their ballots in the 2020 election, a record-breaking early voting turnout in a year shaped by the coronavirus pandemic.

5:30 A.M.

The polls open in 30 minutes! Registered voters can head to their polling locations from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. to cast their vote in the 2020 election. If you are in line by 7 p.m. you will be allowed to vote.

If you’re sending your absentee ballot through the mail, it needs to be postmarked by Tuesday, Nov. 3 and received by your local registrar’s office by noon on Friday, Nov. 6.

You will need to bring a form of ID to the polls.

The Virginia Department of Elections considers these acceptable forms of ID:

  • Voter confirmation documents you received after you registered to vote
  • Virginia DMV-issued Driver’s License or Identification Card
  • Valid United States Passport
  • Any ID card issued by the US, Virginia, or a local Virginia government
  • Any student ID card issued by a US university or community college
  • Valid student ID issued by a public school or private school in Virginia
  • Employer-issued photo ID card
  • Any current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or another government document with your name and address
  • An ID Confirmation Statement

To reduce the spread of COVID-19, health experts recommend to bring your own supplies like a face mask, hand sanitizer and blank ink pen and stay six feet apart from others.

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