Virginia sees massive early voting lines ahead of general election
Long lines packed with hundreds of voters were seen across Virginia Friday as in-person early voting kicked off there and in other states for the upcoming November general election.
Online videos showed masked and socially distanced Virginians lined up as far as the eye can see in the city of Fairfax to vote in the unprecedented presidential election amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A longtime poll worker in Fairfax told CNN that she never saw turnout like Friday’s on the first day of early voting.
Arlington County’s elections office tweeted that 200 people cast ballots in the first hour of the polls opening.
Massive lines with enthusiastic voters were also reported in Alexandria and in Virginia Beach.
In previous presidential elections, Virginia voters needed a reason to cast an early ballot, but this year anyone was allowed to vote early.
Virginia, along with South Dakota, Wyoming and Minnesota kicked off in-person early voting Friday for the Nov. 3 general election.
As President Trump and Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden continue to battle for country’s votes, Virginia — largely considered blue-leaning — does not appear to be getting the swing state treatment it once did.
Trump and Biden both did not appear on broadcast television there as early voting got underway, the Washington Post reported.
“There’s really no discussion about the state being in play,” Amy Walter, the national editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, told the news outlet. “If you’re Ohio or New Hampshire, or Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, you’ve always been in that spotlight. Virginia got it for such a short period of time.”
The last time presidential candidates strayed away from Virginia and off its airwaves was 2004 when the state was largely red, the report noted.
“Virginia was the belle of the ball in 2008, and again in 2012, and still once more in 2016, but in 2020, the commonwealth is a wall flower,” Stephen Farnsworth, a University of Mary Washington political scientist, told the Washington Post.
Still, the Trump and Biden campaigns claim they are making an effort for Virginia’s 13 electoral college votes.
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