Voting technology deemed "ready", turnout in question

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A day for last-minute details to make sure everything is ready when polls open across Virginia.

In Henrico, for example, crews finished delivering the last of the voting machines to precincts Monday afternoon. The machines have been tested, programmed, and deemed ready for Election Day. The question now: How many voters will come out and use them?

There are more than 700 machines, and 93 stops.

DICKIE: "One more, then we'll go back and load up again."
ANDY: "Ha, so it's a  busy day?"
DICKIE: "It's a busy day."

Dickie Call and the crew of technicians for Henrico County say Election Day, is "fun". If only most voters felt the same enthusiasm this year.

Dan Palazzolo is our political analyst.

"We're not seeing the same kind of energy in the state that we saw in 2008 on the Democratic side," Palazzolo said.

Virginia elected a president in 2008. This year, they'll vote primarily for members of congress in all 11 districts. Add up all the different areas, and Virginia has more than 400 candidates on all the ballots. And when voters go to the polls, they'll be selecting more than just people.

"This is the first time we've had constitutional amendments on the ballot since 2006. So it is something  that's a little out of the ordinary," said Susan Pollard, speaking at the State Board of Elections.

The constitutional amendments may catch unprepared voters by surprise, so the Board of Elections is asking people to read them ahead of time.

"This is a way that voters can actually help prevent lines at the polls, by being informed of the  constitutional amendments," Pollard said.

The Board of Elections won't make predictions on turnout, but the number of new voters this year is particularly revealing.

For example, Chesterfield County gained more than 2,000 newly registered voters (through September 2010) according to Board of Elections figures. But in 2008, it gained nearly 19,000.

Henrico County gained only 751 this year, compared to nearly 21,000 two years ago.

Richmond actually lost registered voters this year, down 675. The city gained almost 23,000 in 2008, which was a record year for new voters in Virginia.

Polls open at 6:00 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7:00 p.m.

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