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More than 700 cast ballots in Roanoke, as early voting begins in Virginia

More than 700 people cast ballots in Roanoke on the first day of early voting in Virginia.
More than 700 people cast ballots in Roanoke on the first day of early voting in Virginia.(WDBJ7)
Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 9:14 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Early voting is underway in Virginia, and more than 700 people cast ballots in the city of Roanoke Friday.

About 35 people were standing in line outside the Roanoke City Registrar’s Office before 8 a.m.

They waited patiently to be among the first to take advantage of no-excuse early voting.

“I’m glad you can vote early without the long lines, without the wait,” Kenneth Walker told WDBJ7 after voting. “Plus you can rest assured that your vote is already in.”

Once the doors opened, election officials say they saw a steady stream of people throughout the morning.

Inside it worked like a normal polling place, though COVID-19 precautions were in place, with election workers wearing protective equipment and sitting behind plastic screens.

Andrew Cochran is Roanoke’s General Registrar and Director of Elections.

“We had voters, I think, lined up all the way to the street, so voter engagement is very high,” he said. “And we’re thankful for the turnout.”

“You never know what tomorrow brings,” said voter Mary Bethea, “and we just wanted to get it done early.”

The registrar’s office is also mailing more than 9000 absentee ballots, about four times the number requested four years ago.

But on this day, the focus was on voters who turned out in person.

“It went very well,” said Senator John Edwards (D-Roanoke) after voting. “It was very easy to vote. I encourage everybody to vote. And i think the more people that vote, the better it is for our Democracy.”

Democratic party leaders have been encouraging their supporters to vote early, but we spoke with Republicans who were also voting early in Roanoke Friday.

Just before the Registrar’s Office closed at 5 p.m., 705 people had voted in person.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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