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On My Ray-dar election edition: Voters willing to wait to cast ballots

If you haven’t voted yet, know that as long as you are in line at your polling place by 7 p.m. you will be allowed to vote, according to Culpeper election officials.
You may have a bit of a wait, however, if you are in the two biggest precincts: East Fairfax and West Fairfax.

Voters there reported waits of up to an hour and several said they had to come back a second or even third time as they had not allowed enough time between appointments. It took me 43 minutes from the time I got in line until I walked out the door.

However, some news outlets such as WTOP radio, are reporting that lines in Northern Virginia have often stretched for two hours or more. One polling place in Prince William County reported a four-hour wait. By state law, polling places must have at least one voting booth for every 750 registered voters.

It seems that Culpeper is mirroring the commonwealth as Virginia turnout is reportedly higher than in the 2008 presidential election during which many state precincts set records.

A poll official at East Fairfax said that by 4 p.m. today 1,424 people had been checked in with from 90 to 165 people going through each hour. He said the total in 2008 was 1,892 and that as many as 2,000 people may vote there today.

In addition to the choice between Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Barack Obama for president, Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen for senator and Republican Eric Cantor and Democrat Wayne Powell for the 7th Congressional District seat there are two ballot measures. And, Independent Megan Revis Frederick and Republican Paul Walther face each other for the office of commonwealth’s attorney. In the Salem District, voters have another choice: Sanford Reaves or Alexa Fritz for the Board of Supervisors.

I visited four precincts in four different magisterial districts and voters I talked to had myriad reasons for casting their ballot.

• “We need a big change all the way around. I hope my vote will make a difference. I have come back three times to stand in line.” – Faye, East Fairfax District

• “The government should be for everybody, not just for the rich or the poor.” – Gregory, East Fairfax District

• “I think the economy is the important issue. It’s important to get the country back on track.” – Jeff, West Fairfax District

• “It’s important that we give Barack a chance to finish what he started. He deserves four more years.” – Dexter, West Fairfax District

• “This is my first time voting and I am pretty much going with what my parents think. Everyone says your vote makes a difference but I’m not really sure about that.” – Ashley, Cedar Mountain District

• “I haven’t really been into politics, but I was encouraged to come out and vote for the first time. All my life I’ve thought one vote doesn’t really matter, but now I think it can.” – Jessica, Cedar Mountain District

• “Voting is my right and my duty. Maybe I’ll make a difference. I spent an hour in the wrong line and then I came here. I wouldn’t have done that if I didn’t think my vote mattered.” – Lynn, Catalpa District

• “I want to do my civic duty. I wouldn’t take time to vote if I didn’t think it would make any difference.” – Audrey, Catalpa.

I voted. I hope you will too, and then keep checking CulpeperTimes.com for results and comments from local candidates after the races are decided.

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