Leesburg Votes: Town Sees High Morning Turnout
Election officers see increased traffic as day progresses.
Lines were long but steady Tuesday morning as voters arrived at Frances Hazel Reid Elementary School to cast their ballot at the East Leesburg precinct.
Roughly 150 people were standing in line when the doors first opened at 6 a.m. Chief Election Officer Richard Claar said that was almost half as many that turned out for the last presidential election back in 2008.
“I was a bit surprised,” Claar said, who has been an election officer at the school for five years. “The last election we had people lined up all the way down the side of the building, into the parking lot, in the dark.”
Fortunately, that line did not deplete for at least an hour and a half, he said. As of 10:15 a.m. there had been about 1,000 voters, and the lines were staying steady. The wait was around 10 to 15 minutes.
“It’s just been a constant flow of people,” Claar said. “No real breaks or anything like that.”
Voter Nemya Laytham said she waited in line for about three minutes and was in full support of President Barack Obama.
“I’m particularly interested in the women’s issues, the economic issues,” Laytham said. “I think President Obama has been doing a great job of moving us forward. I want to stay that way. I don’t want go back to the 1930s.”
First timer voter Hannah Testerman said she was voting for presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Her biggest issue dealt with abortion, something she is strongly against.
“I don’t really agree with abortion and I really want a Republican because I believe what Romney believes,” Testerman said. “You should vote for what you believe in whether you’re a Democrat or Republican. Every vote counts and you should stand up for what you believe in.”
This year’s ballot also includes candidates who are running for the Leesburg Town Council. There are two candidates for mayor and eight who are looking to fill three council seats.
Sadly, local elections don’t usually have a big turnout, Claar said.
“I don’t think that’s having an effect on this election. I think when you have the presidential election that is the major thing,” he said, adding that he hopes everyone will take the time to vote for the town officials. “I hope somebody does a study after this to see if it was really worth while combining the town election with the federal election.”
Claar encouraged everyone to get out and vote before 7 p.m. Although it’s difficult to make a prediction Claar expects larger crowds to form near the end of the day.