Early voting begins across Virginia

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 9:48 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Blue skies and a sea of signs greeted the first early voters in the city of Roanoke.

Paulette Lawson was number four.

“Voting is such a privilege, and this election is so very important,” Lawson told WDBJ7. “I just wanted to get my vote in and counted.”

Early voting began in communities across Virginia Friday morning.

On our first visit to the Roanoke City Registrar’s Office, we found Republican city council candidates Maynard Keller and Nick Hagen chatting with Independents David Bowers and Preston Tyler.

And by the end of the day we had seen most of the 11 candidates who are running for seats on Roanoke City Council, including Democrats Joe Cobb‚ Peter Volosin, Vivian Sanchez-Jones and Luke Priddy. They appeared alongside 6th District Congressional candidate Jennifer Lewis Friday afternoon.

“Data tells us that the Democrats usually vote early,” Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea said in an interview. “And so we’re asking all of our Democrats to come out, to participate and to bring somebody with you, bring people with you. This is an important election.”

The Republican ticket includes Dalton Baugess, Hagen, Keller and Peg McGuire.

“It’s strong. It’s impressive,” said Roanoke City Republican Committee Chairman Charlie Nave. “It’s a great opportunity for change in direction for City Council in Roanoke, which desperately needs it.”

Rounding out the field are three Independent candidates: Bowers, Tyler and Jamaal Jackson.

With the exception of McGuire who was out of town, all of the city council candidates visited the registrar’s office Friday.

Director of Elections Andrew Cochran said the first day went smoothly, with about 100 people casting a ballot by midday.

“June, of course, was a primary so that was much lighter,” Cochran said Friday afternoon. “I’d have to look back but this is a good day, not as much as presidential obviously, but a really good turnout for the first day of early voting.”

Sen. Mark Warner attended a meeting of the Roanoke Valley Republican Women Friday, and encouraged Virginians to take advantage of early voting.

“We’ve worked for years to make voting easier in Virginia,” Warner said in an interview after the event. “I think that’s good for the state of Democracy in Virginia, doesn’t favor one party over another. Last year we had a record turnout and we elected a Republican Governor and Republican General Assembly. So I would urge people, no matter which team you support, to get out and vote, vote early if you can, and make sure your voice is heard.”