Hours long line to vote in Powhatan, Office of Elections encourages Election Day voting

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POWHATAN COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Cars lined up on multiple streets this morning waiting to the Powhatan County Early Voting Drive-Thru Tent. The Office of Elections and Voter Registration says the wait was well over three hours long at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

At noon, the line had gone down slightly and the wait was about two hours long. One car ran out of gas while in line. Others complained to 8News that they needed to use the restroom but couldn’t because they had to wait in line for so long.

“So far we’ve been waiting a couple hours to go a quarter of a mile,” said Jason Manes.

Powhatan’s Registrar says the weather is contributing to the extra long wait. Wind and rain was too strong and water started leaking through the tent. Workers feared the ballots would be destroyed so they had to move to a different location inside, further elongating the process and increasing wait time. To social distance, two people per car were able to vote inside.

The Powhatan County drive through tent was created for early voting in order to keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The line stretched down Tilman Road, Skaggs Road ending around Old Buckingham Road before the voting location opened this morning at 9 a.m.

“We’re not going to turn anybody away because of some wind and some rain but we absolutely want to keep people safe. That is the most important thing right now. So we’re just hoping that our voters stay patient and work with us as we try to remedy this active mother nature,” said Karen Alexander, Director of Elections and Voter Registration for Powhatan County. “On days like this, you can’t plan for and so in order to keep people safe we got to work on the fly and come up with a solution and it’s tricky.”

The Office of Elections says cars began waiting to vote around 4 a.m.

40 percent of registered voters in the county have already cast their ballots. The Registrar office predicts an increase to 50 percent before Election Day. The Office of Elections asks that anyone not wanting to endure the long lines wait until Election Day to vote. Due to the early voting and absentee turnout they do not expect long lines at the polls on Election Day.


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