Low Voter Turnout in Lorton on Primary Day
Bad weather and a June primary can be the recipe for a political upset
Candidates across the Commonwealth are pulling out the stops in their final stretch to the finish line on what is proving to be a low-turnout primary.
By the Numbers
At 7:20 a.m., only six out of 2,063 active registered voters cast their ballots at the Lorton Library precinct 617. The polling place was quiet - and no campaign staff were in sight.
"There are 2603 people in this precinct and I think at the last primary in April we had roughly 150 voters," said Joseph Chudzik, chief election officer at the Lorton Library. "There won't be a large turn out, this isn't an interest election."
At 10 a.m., only 15 out of 3,149 active registered voters cast their ballots at the Laurel Hill precinct at South County Secondary School. By 2 p.m., 40 voters had cast ballots there.
Precinct 629 (South County), which is also held at the secondary school, had 79 voters by 2 p.m. — one of the higher turnout rates in the Lorton area.
Republican Primary: U.S. Senate
Former Virginia Senator and Gov. George Allen and wife Susan stopped by a number of Northern Virginia precincts and will be at a rally in Richmond tonight to await primary results.
“Well, our goal obviously is to win and the bigger the turnout the better," Allen told Patch from Washington Mill Elementary School, a precinct in the Mount Vernon District. "We have good friendships and relationships throughout Virginia, so the bigger the turnout, the better it’ll be for us. We’re cautiously optimistic.”
Allen, who lost his seat to outgoing U.S. Sen Jim Webb in 2006, faces competition from three challengers: Tea Party member Jamie Radtke, minister E.W. Jackson and state Del. Bob Marshall (Prince William Cty).
Allen is easily the favorite in the race to face Democrat Tim Kaine, a former Virginia governor and Chair of the Democratic National Committee, on election day this November.
Marshall voted at 10 a.m. at Signal Hill Elementary School in Manassas.
“I’m satisfied with what time I had [campaigning]; I can’t tell who’s voting. This is like flying blind with no instruments or anything,” Marshall told Patch. “I had a lot of volunteers around Virginia, but clearly we didn’t have the money that George Allen did, but this— at least the way it looks like it's turning out—is a campaign of intensity, not one of name ID. We’ll find out at 7:00 tonight how accurate that is.”
Republican Primary: Eleventh Congressional District
Candidate Chris S. Perkins arrived at Orange Hunt Elementary School in Springfield at 7;00 a.m. this morning, after voting in his home precinct in Lorton.
Perkins is running for the Republican seat in the 11th Congressional District against Ken L. Vaughn. The winner of the primary will face Rep. Gerry Connolly (D) in November. Independent Mark Gibson is also running, and is required to gather 1,000 signatures by Tuesday to get onto the November ballot.
"I hear how angry people are about the lack of progress in Congress," Perkins told Patch. "Vaughn's solution is to offer massive cuts to balance the budget in just one year. My more serious answer is to address regulatory reform over time. The changes should not just come from budget cuts."
Democratic Primary: Eighth Congressional District
Moran voted at 6 a.m. at the Arlington County Division of Parks and Natural Resources on South Taylor Street in Shirlington. Moran said he “always” worries about primary elections.
“It keeps me energized,” Moran told Patch. “I'm never complacent about anything, and for something that's worth it like this, it is worth working hard for and not being taken for granted.”
Just after 6:00 a.m., Shuttleworth was one of the first voters to cast a ballot in the Democratic primary at the Madison Community Center precinct in North Arlington. Shuttleworth said he is ready for a general election campaign.
"We'd be completely energized for that," Shuttleworth said. "I'm up for that challenge."
Have you voted today? Polls close at 7:00 p.m.
(Editor's Note: Alexandra Mendoza, Jessie Biele and Jamie Rogers contributed to this report.)