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SW Va. voter turnout called typical for off-year election

Mike Still • Nov 9, 2019 at 9:22 PM

Registrars in far Southwest Virginia said Tuesday’s election turnout for General Assembly and local races was typical or slightly better than expected for an off-year election.

Scott County Registrar Mike Edwards on Friday said that 6,888 of 14,990 eligible voters (45.9%) cast ballots.

Among the four westernmost Southwest Virginia localities, Scott County’s ballot covered a slate of state and local offices including General Assembly House and Senate, board of supervisors, school board, sheriff, commissioner of revenue, treasurer, commonwealth’s attorney, Nickelsville and Weber City mayor, Weber City Town Council and soil and water district board.

“We always hope for more,” Edwards said, “but turnout was a little better than in other off-year elections. We would certainly hope everyone comes out and votes, though.”

In Lee County, Registrar Patsy Burchett said 6,004 of 14,866 eligible voters (40.4%) went to the polls. Burchett said that level also was comparable to county turnout for an off-year election.

As in Scott County, Wise and Lee voters cast ballots in races for General Assembly House and Senate, board of supervisors, school board, sheriff, commissioner of revenue, treasurer, commonwealth’s attorney and soil and water conservation district seats.

In Wise County, Registrar Allison Robbins said that 7,236 of 22,851 eligible voters (31.7%) cast ballots Tuesday.

Norton Registrar Marie Muir said Tuesday’s 27.9 percent turnout of city voters was probably due to a slimmer ballot than in the surrounding counties. Of 2,324 eligible voters, 617 chose a commonwealth’s attorney, sheriff, and a state delegate and senator.

“It was a steady day, but slow,” Muir said.

Turnout figures for Tuesday’s elections will not be posted on the Department of Elections website until results are certified. Comparing regional turnouts to 2015, Virginia’s most recent off-year election in which there were no congressional, presidential or gubernatorial races, the statewide turnout was 29.1 percent.

While several races across the region saw write-in candidates, Burchett said that state law requires registrars to compile those names only if a write-in candidate receives 10 percent or more of the total ballots in that race. No write-in candidates received that level of votes in any election across the three counties and Norton.

The State Board of Elections meets on the fourth Friday in November, Nov. 22 this year, to certify the election results.

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