Final preparations underway ahead of Election Day

Virginia Elections

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Local registrars in Central Virginia made their final preparations Monday for Election Day, just hours away, with the polls set to open Tuesday 6 a.m. and remain open until 7 p.m.

In Henrico County, 91 polling places will be open. Regardless of in which county residents cast their vote, anyone in line to do so at 7 p.m. will be allowed to cast their ballot.

“We have over 1,200 election officers that are going to be at the polls tomorrow checking in voters, making sure you get the correct ballot, and casting your ballot,” Henrico County Registrar Mark Coakley said. “Chief officers picked up their supplies today, which ended up being bags and poll pads and things like that.”

Coakley said that scanners and other supplies for each polling place started getting delivered last Wednesday. They will be picked up the following Wednesday, Nov. 3, after Election Day.

“With 91 polling places, everybody has an optical scan machine to vote the ballot. We also have an ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliant machine,” he said. “Our large precincts, with over, let’s say, 3,500 voters, and there’s 29 of them, get two scanners. You don’t want long lines.”

Although Coakley said that approximately 49,000 Henrico County voters have already cast their ballot, he is expecting strong turnout at the polls on Tuesday. Moreover, anyone who has yet to mail in their absentee ballot can drop it off in designated drop boxes at polling places until 7 p.m. on Election Day. Those who still wish to mail in their absentee ballot must have it postmarked by Tuesday and received by noon on Friday.

“With the new ways to vote, we will have a crowd tomorrow on Election Day. [But there] won’t be as long of lines as you’ve seen in previous years,” Coakley said. “The lines will be steady. Voters will be there, especially in the morning and throughout the day, and just bring your patience and have a good attitude, and enjoy your voting process.”

In Chesterfield County, General Registrar Constance Hargrove provided an Election Day preparation update to the Board of Supervisors at its Oct. 27 meeting.

She said that Chesterfield County has also seen an increase in pre-Election Day voter turnout, through Early Voting and absentee ballots, as compared with years prior to 2020. As such, Hargrove said that she has been working to combat staff overtime and fatigue among election workers to make sure that they are able to assist voters on Tuesday.

“One mistake is not a good thing in elections. One mistake can disenfranchise a voter,” Hargrove said. “We’re doing everything we can, as well as me sending some of my staff home a little bit earlier sometimes, to make sure that we’re not making needless mistakes.”

As of Oct. 27, Hargrove said that Chesterfield County had 955 officers of elections trained and available to work. Precinct 313 Woolridge and 514 Watkins were short four or more officers, but she said that she was planning to take a look at early voting numbers and see where workers could be reassigned.

In the City of Richmond, 69 precincts will be open on Tuesday as voters head to the polls.

With Early Voting locations now closed, registered voters who did not cast their ballots early must report to their assigned polling place in order to vote in-person. Residents can find their polling location by visiting the Virginia Department of Election’s (VDE) Polling Place Lookup website, or by referring to their individual voter registration card.

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