HANOVER – In what might turn out to be an historic turnout in voting Tuesday, Hanover County was seeing plenty of activity at the Director of Elections/General Registrar’s office at Hanover Courthouse.
Teresa “Teri” Smithson said the county has 84,170 total registered voters, with 82,900 of them active. The number of inactive voters is 1,270. To qualify for that status, a voter either has not voted in a long time or has moved out of the county.
With the eyes of the world watching as Democrat Joe Biden and Libertarian Jo Jorgensen challenge incumbent Republican President Donald J. Trump, voting in Hanover County is expected to be higher than usual. Their running mates for vice president are Kamala Harris, Michael R. Pence and Jeremy F. “Spike” Cohen, respectively.
County voters also will select a U.S. senator – Republican Daniel M. Gade is challenging incumbent Democrat Mark R. Warner – and U.S. House of Representatives 1st District – Democrat Qasim Rashid versus Robert J. Wittman, the Republican incumbent.
Voters also will be deciding the fate of two Constitutional Amendments.
The first one reads:
Should the Constitution of Virginia be amended to establish a redistricting commission, consisting of eight members of the General Assembly and eight citizens of the Commonwealth, that is responsible for drawing the congressional and state legislative districts that will be subsequently voted on, but not changed by, the General Assembly and enacted without the Governor’s involvement and to give the responsibility of drawing districts to the Supreme Court of Virginia if the redistricting commission fails to draw districts or the General Assembly fails to enact districts by certain deadlines?
The second one reads:
Should an automobile or pickup truck that is owned and used primarily by or for a veteran of the United States armed forces or the Virginia National Guard who has a one hundred percent service-connected, permanent, and total disability be free from state and local taxation?
The options are Yes or No.
As of end of business on Saturday, Oct. 24, Smithson said in-person voting was 21,946; 12,711 had voted by mail request; and there were 34,657 total absentee ballots cast.
The county turnout as of that date was 42%.
This election, she said, “No Excuse absentee in-person voting and voting by mail are very popular. Many of the voters have commented on how easy and fast it was to cast their ballot. The voting center team has received many compliments.”
On Saturday, Oct. 31, voters – just like on the 24th – can vote between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at Smithson’s Wickham Building office. “We will be having drive-thru voting. Check out our website, https://www.hanovercounty.gov/361/Voter-Registration-Elections-Office, for a map of where and how to line up,” she added.
No appointment is needed and there aren’t any long lines.
“Remember that Oct. 31 is the last day to cast a ballot in-person at her office,” Smithson said.
Dale Hargrove Alderman, chairman of the Hanover County Republican Committee, said, “The Hanover County Republican Committee started planning back in the spring to begin mobilizing for the Nov. 3 election cycle.”
“Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we were not able to have our usual committee meetings until this fall; however, hundreds of volunteers have stepped up to help in what I think most Republicans see as the most consequential election in the history of our Republic,” she said.
Alderman added, “Hanover County is a predominately Republican county where the local citizens are committed to the principles of the free enterprise system not the Socialist policies currently espoused by the Democratic Party. These policies represent an existential threat to our lives and to the lives of our children.”
“For that in mind, we are planning for a record turnout here in the county for Donald Trump for president, Rob Wittman for congressman and Daniel Gade for senator this Nov. 3,” she concluded.
“The political fervor is heating up in Hanover County!” Daniel McGraw, chairman of the Hanover County Democratic Party, said. “On Sunday, Oct. 11, U.S. Senator Mark Warner and many distinguished politicians and political leaders met in Ashland to show support for Qasim Rashid, Mark Warner, Kamala Harris, and Joe Biden, all running on the Democratic ticket this year.”
“And this year,” he continued, “an excellent Congressional candidate, Qasim Rashid, has set the tone for how to put together a solid campaign. He has fresh ideas every week and he is meeting the voters where they are.”
“If you are looking to run for political office, you should contact Qasim Rashid. His compassion through action, in person and virtual town halls, and overall political prowess are outstanding,” McGraw added.
“The Hanover County Democratic Committee is growing more by the day. I am hearing from people all across the county about how to join and how to be more active in politics,” said McGraw.
“This has been a turbulent year. We are seeing school name changes, social distancing, and police reform.”
As a resident of Ashland, McGraw said he is quite proud of the Ashland Police Department. “But, we can do more,” he said. “This election, we will be deciding on the people who will push for reform, nationwide.”
“Over 35% of the electorate in Hanover County has voted early. And that’s thanks, in no small part, to the Hanover County registrar and the registrar’s office and all of their hard work to make voting easier and safer in Hanover,” he said.
“How great would it be if 100% of eligible voters cast a ballot this election?” McGraw said. “We are seeing Democratic signs throughout the county. Some vandals have attempted to tear down these signs. But, every time one is torn down, we put up two more … And people are donating to Democratic causes.”