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State commissioner: 'I would say this was a very smooth election'

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This is continuing coverage of Election Day 2022 from The Times-Dispatch. Reporters and visual journalists are at polling locations across the region. 

Have a story we should pursue? Email us here.


Updated election results: 

Wittman glides to re-election in 1st District

Virginia voters turn out in strong numbers for midterm election

McEachin easily wins re-election in 4th District

Preliminary totals show Chesterfield County’s $540 million bond referendum almost certain to pass

Henrico County voters approve $511 million bond referendum


Elections official: 'A very smooth election'

Updated at 9:19 p.m. 

State Elections Commissioner Susan Beals during a 9 p.m. update said Tuesday's election "went very smoothly."

"I would say this was a very smooth election," she said. 

Beals earlier said there were issues with some precinct poll books, which list registered votes. Some of the problems were user error and others were specific to Richmond. 

"We've been in contact with them throughout the day," she said.  


part 1

Polls close in Virginia 

Updated at 7 p.m. 

Polls have now closed across Virginia, as the attention shifts to vote totals.

New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida polls closed at 7 p.m. 

Polls closed in Kentucky and Indiana at 6 p.m. Eastern.


'Everyone’s voice matters'

Updated at 7 p.m. 

Dozens of Henrico County residents turned out to Hermitage High School around 5 p.m. to cast their ballot in person.  

Cars continued to arrive throughout the evening as residents raced to the polling site. 

Long-time residents David and Nora Williams have been voting at this same polling site for over 40 years.  

“Whenever there’s an election, we vote,” said Nora Williams. “And we have been for 43 years.” 

Both Williams said they had no trouble getting in and out of line to cast their vote today, despite the rush of residents who were unable to vote earlier in the day. 

“We’re lucky we live right down the road from here and we’ve been here so many times I can hardly county,” said David Williams. 

Although nearly 1 million Virginians voted early in this year's election, some voters like Williams and Kathleen Kaufman made the decision to vote in person.  

Kaufman said she found it important to make her voice heard in this election and voting in person is the surest way to do so. For those who chose not to vote in this election, Kaufman said she hopes resident realize their voice matters. 

“Everyone’s voice matters,” said Kaufman. “Everyone’s opinion matters … and if we don’t make our voices heard then nothing changes for the good.” 

Virginia Del. Schuyler T. VanValkenburg, D-Henrico, also made an appearance at Hermitage High School Tuesday, not to cast a ballot but to thank the many poll workers for their hard work throughout the evening. 

“They work a long day to get up at four o'clock in the morning and don't get to leave here until like 8 o'clock,” said VanValkenburg. “They make democracy work, so I try to go around and thank them for their job for the work they do.” 

VanValkenburg said he’s made it a tradition to visit each polling place even when his name isn’t on the ballot. 

Although presidential candidates aren’t on this year's ballot, VanValkenburg said turnout has been consistent in all the precincts he’s visited. 

“We’ve had high voter turnout than in Henrico County for a while now,” said VanValkenburg. “I think people, whichever party they're in, have been engaged right for the last five, six years and I think what we're seeing today is that that continues to be the the case.”

— Lyndon German 


Powhatan County residents are now in the 5th District

Updated at 4:57 p.m. 

Though Virginia’s 5th Congressional District still stretches from the North Carolina border, its top boundary now stops at Albemarle County and its width shifted closer to Richmond. Once part of the 7th District, Powhatan County residents are now in the 5th District and are choosing between Republican incumbent Rep. Bob Good and Democrat Josh Throneburg. 

For Carol Bennett, the choice is easy. A volunteer with her local Republican party, she said she appreciates Good’s track record as a fiscal conservative and his stance on immigration.

“I'm happy with how he votes. I'm happy that some of his top priorities are the economy and border control,” Bennett said. 

Jacqueline Koiner, 89, votes at precinct 105 at Mary Munford Elementary School in Richmond, Va.

Good has been outspoken in support of stricter immigration laws and the construction of a wall along the U.S. and Mexico border. He also wants to trim federal spending — his Nickel Plan Act would require the federal government to reduce its budget by 5 cents for every dollar it spends annually. 

Meanwhile, a woman who declined to give her name, said she has concerns about some of the “rhetoric coming out of the Republican party” so she voted for Throneburg, an ordained minister who lives in Charlottesville. 

“I think it's sad that I have concerns about giving my name because of the possible repercussions within my own county,” she said. “I just have great concerns for those who still deny the [2020] election results.” 

One of Good’s first acts in Congress was to vote against the certification of President Joe Biden on Jan. 6, 2021 — a day that a mob stormed the Capitol following a “Stop the Steal” rally. A member of his staff was also present at the event, though she asserts she did not participate in the breach. 

The anonymous woman said that she doesn’t identify as a Republican or a Democrat but that she felt more comfortable voting for Throneburg.

— Charlotte Rene Woods


Poll book issue resolved

Updated at 4:12 p.m. 

State Elections Commissioner Susan Beals during a media briefing said issues with poll books at some Virginia polling locations have been resolved. 

The problems were at Richmond, Suffolk and Chesterfield and Nottoway counties.

Beals said paper poll books were used until issues with electronic versions were corrected. 

20221108_WEB_TURNOUT_ER_03

Miles Mangrum III votes at the Brighton Green Community Association Huguenot 501 voting precinct in North Chesterfield, Va. on November 8, 2022. EVA RUSSO/TIMES-DISPATCH

The poll books are used to confirm the registration of voters. 

The next media briefing is planned at 4 p.m. 


'Running a skeleton crew'

Updated at 1:09 p.m. 

At North Courthouse Road Library in Chesterfield County, Election Officer Bob Bailey described a busy morning, despite having fewer volunteers than last year. Bailey said he’s been running with four or five volunteers fewer than in 2020.

Admittedly, this is a midterm election, said Bailey. 

“What can I say, people didn’t want to volunteer,” said Bailey.

Election volunteers make $200 a day in Chesterfield County, including an additional $25 if they come for a pre-Election Day training.

One of the main things his staff has been doing is redirecting voters who have been coming to the wrong polling site. Many voters came to North Courthouse, only to find that their polling site was several miles away. In the span of a half hour, at least four voters had made that mistake.

The confusion arose because Chesterfield County has six new polling sites since the 2020 election. Others, such as a polling site at Reams Elementary School, had been closed in prior years due to construction.

Chesterfield Registrar Missy Vera said that every voter in the county received information by mail about their new polling sites.

“That’s been on news bulletins, it’s been out there in the media, social media,” said Vera. “We’ve been trying to get it out there that people need to find out where their precinct is before they show up to vote.”

By 10:30 a.m., Bailey said around 240 voters had voted at the North Courthouse Road Library precinct.

— Luca Powell


20221108_WEB_TURNOUT_ER_11

Voters cast their ballots at precinct 105 at Mary Munford Elementary School in Richmond, Va. on Tuesday, November 8, 2022. EVA RUSSO/TIMES-DISPATCH

Worried about Social Security

Updated at 1:09 p.m. 

Some voters said they were animated to vote today because of concerns that they might lose their Social Security benefits if Republicans win control in Washington, D.C.

“I care about social security and I care about Democracy,” said Wanda Mitchell, a Chesterfield County voter.

Wanda Mitchell

Wanda Mitchell voted today in Chesterfield County.

Another voter, Whitman Thornton, echoed that sentiment.

“I don’t want to lose it. That’ll hurt me bad,” said Thornton, who is 74 and voted for Democrats down the ticket.

“Democracy is more important than worrying about gas prices,” Thornton said.

— Luca Powell


'They don’t need the money'

Updated at 1:09 p.m. 

Chesterfield County Voters today have the opportunity to approve or veto a proposal from county officials to finance capital improvement projects with $540 million in bonds.

David Long, a voter at North Courthouse Road Library polling site, said he wasn’t sure how he was going to vote. Long wants to support schools, but doesn’t trust that the money will actually end up there.

“I don’t trust the board of supervisors. Not one bit,” said Long.

One of the main projects the referendum will support is a $135 million high school in the Western 360 area of Chesterfield, which has seen a boom in development in the past several years. The county overall has added more than 50,000 residents in the past decade, Census data show.

Other voters felt differently than Long. Amanda Waggamon, who is 29 and works in health tech, said she supports schools and had less doubts in the county’s half a billion dollar proposition. “It’s a lot but so is everything nowadays,” Waggamon said. “I care about the schools so you can infer how I voted.”

Election Day

High schooler Michael Toast, working as an election page at the Mechanicsville Branch Library in Hanover County on Tuesday, handed a voting sticker to a young observer.

Diann Liptak, who was volunteering at North Courthouse on behalf of the Democratic Party, said she voted yes on the bond referendum. 

Liptak said she held her nose while she voted for more money for the Chesterfield police department, which she said has a bad reputation in Chesterfield. 

John Thorpe, a Chesterfield voter who works in the construction industry, said he voted against the ballot. 

“That’s an old trick, they put up this bond referendum,” Thorpe said. “They don’t need the money, they have my property taxes for that.”

Thorpe said he identifies as an independent, although he used to be a Republican. Today he voted for Democrat Congressman Donald McEachin. In recent elections, Thorpe said he’s lost trust that Republicans will "talk about the issues," and has been turned off by what he sees as racism in the party.

— Luca Powell


828 ballots cast at South Side precinct 

Updated at 12:02 p.m. 

As of 11:30, 828 people had voted at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church on Richmond’s South Side, out of about 4,000 registered at the precinct. 

Precinct workers considered that a steady turnout for an off-year election with only one contest on the ballot, featuring Rep. Don McEachin, D-4th and Republican Leon Benjamin.

— Andrew Cain


'They said I should vote at my old precinct'

Updated at 12:01 p.m.  

In Richmond, Nancy Nystrom Stansbery got the unsettling news she wasn’t in the poll book at precinct 104 when she came to vote, with her recently-mailed voter card and ID with her new address. 

She had moved from another neighborhood in the city and filed the update to her registration ahead of the deadline for registration to vote in this year’s election. 

“When I showed my card to the poll workers, they said I wasn’t in the poll book,” she said. “They said I should vote at my old precinct.” 

She said she worried she wouldn’t be listed in that poll book either, so one poll worker called the registrar’s City Hall office. 

20221108_WEB_TURNOUT_ER_01

Stephanie Lau votes with her children Aidan Lau-Struck, 6, and Julian Lau-Struck, 2, at the Brighton Green Community Association Huguenot 501 voting precinct in North Chesterfield, Va. on November 8, 2022. EVA RUSSO/TIMES-DISPATCH

“She said I wasn’t in the system,” Stansbery said. “I don’t understand how I could be in the system long enough to get a new card in the mail and then not be there.” 

She did get to vote, but only after re-registering and casting a provisional ballot. 

“While I was there, two other women came up with the same issue,” she said. “They’d moved recently too.” 

She said the election officers did tell her anything about following up to see if her vote was counted. The state Department of Elections says voters who cast provisional ballots are supposed to given a notice with the date, time, and place where the local electoral board will decide whether or not to count the ballot. Voters are entitled to attend this meeting, but are not required to attend in order for their ballot to be counted. If your registration application is approved and there are no other issues, your ballot will be counted. The registrar is supposed to give people a written notice it their ballots are not counted.

20221108_WEB_TURNOUT_ER_13

Voters cast their ballots at precinct 105 at Mary Munford Elementary School in Richmond, Va. on Tuesday, November 8, 2022. EVA RUSSO/TIMES-DISPATCH

“We have heard several instances of this,” said Richmond voter registrar Keith Balmer.

“Those voters should have been checked into the paper poll book that was sent to that precinct. Any voter who casts a provisional ballot for this reason will have their ballot counted by the Electoral Board,” he said.

He said voters who cast provisional ballots because they did not show election officers an ID, as state law requires, will need to show up at the Electoral Board with that ID for their votes to be counted.

Voters who cast provisional ballots for any other reason do not need to show up, he said.

As for the cause of the issue, Balter said the state Department of Elections is aware of the issue and is researching it.

— Dave Ress 


'Poll book' problems reported in Chesterfield, Richmond 

Updated 11:21 a.m. 

State election officials on Tuesday reported issues with voter information at polling locations in Richmond, Suffolk and Chesterfield and Nottoway counties.

State Elections Commissioner Susan Beals during a morning press briefing said the problems were with the “poll books" that list voter information on a laptop or physical document. Before casting a ballot, voters check in with an election official who consults the information for confirmation.

Susan Beals, elections commissioner for Virginia, holds a media briefing on Tuesday morning.

It was not immediately known how many people were impacted or the nature of the discrepancy. Voters who had issues could cast a provisional ballot, and the vote will count, she said.

“It might just be moving a little slower than normal,” she said.

Beals said election officials in those areas switched to paper poll books. No voters were turned away, she said. 

There also was a power outage at a Wythe County polling location, which has since been resolved.

A total of 943,000 voters took part in early voting this year. Virginia has 6.1 million registered voters.

State election officials also have scheduled media briefings at planned at 4 and 9 p.m.


Bond issue on ballot in Henrico County

Updated 10:52 a.m. 

At Glen Allen Elementary in Henrico County on Tuesday morning, poll workers said they were a lot busier than expected, with 470 voters in the first hour. The school is Henrico's largest polling center with 4,700 voters.

Enoch Pou Jr. has lived in Henrico since 1991. Pou Jr., 60, says he hasn't missed an election since he turned 18 and that he votes because it is a critical use of a person's voice. Approving funds for the schools was one of his main considerations, as the father of a Henrico schools' graduate who now has a doctorate.

Henrico County is asking residents for their approval to issue $511.4 million in bonds. Projects are for schools; recreation and parks; fire station and public safety; and flood prevention and stormwater drainage.

Voting at the Huguenot 501 voting precinct in North Chesterfield, Va. on November 8, 2022.

About two-thirds of the proposed bonds are for Henrico County Public Schools projects. If the schools category is approved by voters, the county would issue $340.5 million for those projects. The most expensive project is the rebuild of Quioccasin Middle School, which is estimated to cost $89 million.

"We are very pleased with the education that Henrico County provides to all students in all areas," Pou Jr. said. "We fully support the initiatives; I think they were all valid and I have a great deal of faith in the management of this county."

He added that he approved of the other funding projects in fire, public works and Parks and Recreation because he believes the county is a good place to live, and funding those projects is crucial maintenance.

Chesterfield voters also will decide whether to approve measures in a $540 million bond referendum.The bonds would provide $375 million to the Chesterfield County Public School district and $165 million to the county government to fund projects for parks and recreation, the library system, fire stations and police precincts.

— Sean Jones


Spanberger, Vega make final vote push

Updated 9:47 a.m.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D, and GOP challenger Yesli Vega are making a last-minute push for voters on Election Day. 

Vega met with voters at a Woodbridge middle school. 

"Polls are open #VA07, get out and vote!" she tweeted. 

In the closing hours of the U.S. 2022 midterm election, President Joe Biden offered a frank assessment of his party's chance of retaining control of both the House and Senate. "I think we'll win the Senate. I think the House is tougher." Asked what the reality of governing will be like, he responded, "More difficult." Biden was returning to the White House after an evening rally in Maryland, where Democrats have one of their best opportunities to reclaim a Republican-held governor's seat. The Maryland event followed Biden's late-campaign strategy of sticking largely to his party's strongholds rather than stumping in more competitive territory, where control of Congress may ultimately be decided. Biden won Maryland with more than 65% of the vote in 2020 and appeared with Wes Moore, the 44-year-old Rhodes Scholar who could become the state's first Black governor.

Spanberger in a statement said the Virginians "have the opportunity to cast ballots that will help decide the future direction of our communities, our Commonwealth, and our country."

Spanberger is seeking a third term. 

Vega, a Prince William County supervisor, raised millions and brought in high-profile GOP surrogates. She highlighted her life story as a daughter of Salvadoran immigrants, and would become Virginia’s first Latina member of Congress if elected.

The 7th District used to include some of suburban Richmond but was shifted north.

Virginia’s other eight congressional races are generally seen as safe for the incumbents. With its unusual off-year election schedule, Virginia has no statewide races or ballot initiatives this year.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report


Steady stream of voters in Henrico County 

Updated at 9:22 a.m. 

Election Day in Henrico County

Polls opened Tuesday at Echo Lake Elementary School in Glen Allen with a line of about 10 people waiting to get inside. Poll workers said that the turnout was strong for an off-year election, where 274 voters came through within the first hour.

Mike Young, 30, has lived in the county since 2015 and said his main reason for coming to the polls stemmed from national issues.

"Personally, I’m a lifelong Republican voter who voted for Joe Biden to get things back to normalcy and I have not liked what I have seen since he was elected. I kind of feel like I was sold a false set of goods," Young said.

He said that the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe V. Wade caused him to question his place as a Republican but that he further disapproved of the way student loan forgiveness was handled by the current administration.

"While I'm not opposed to forgiveness by any means, I thought the unconstitutional way that one man decided to write off billions of dollars worth of debt is not an administration that I want to support," Young said. 

Lindsay Martin, 58, moved to Henrico from King William within the past two years. He said he came to the polls because of the state of the economy. Fuel and materials prices have impacted his work as a contractor. Martin said he felt different national leadership was a better outcome.

"I think the government should participate in social issues, but I've got a family, I've got expenses and I have to survive too," Martin said. "I think if the general public is doing well then the country as a whole does a lot better down the road."

Matt McKeag is a former Henrico school teacher of 10 years. He said that his vote both about modeling positive civic behavior for his family with three kids and showing support for the school system, which had a hefty piece being voted in the bond referendum.

"As a teacher, capital improvements for the schools is near and dear to my heart," McKeag said. "It's important to me that when there is a decision to be made at the local level and we have a voice, to say hey, we support our school system and we want to try to make it the best there is."

Just a few minutes drive from Lakewood at Glen Allen Elementary, poll workers said they were a lot busier than expected with 470 voters in the first hour. Glen Allen Elementary is Henrico's largest polling center with 4,700 voters.

Enoch Pou Jr. has lived in Henrico since 1991. Pou Jr., 60, says he hasn't missed an election since he turned 18 and that he votes because it is a critical use of a person's voice. Approving funds for the schools was one of his main considerations, as the father of a Henrico schools' graduate who now has a doctorate.

"We are very pleased with the education that Henrico County provides to all students in all areas," Pou Jr. said. "We fully support the initiatives, I think they were all valid and I have a great deal of faith in the management of this county."

He added that he approved of the other funding projects in fire, public works and Parks and Recreation because he believes the county is a good place to live, and funding those projects is crucial maintenance.

— Sean Jones


YOUR GUIDE TO ELECTION DAY 2022

Polls are now open for today's midterm elections. Voters will be able to cast ballots until 7 p.m.

See our updated election guide here.

What's on the ballot? 

The state Supreme Court redrew Virginia's congressional districts in December, which changed the Richmond area's boundaries, primarily by shifting the 7th District to Northern Virginia.

In the 1st Congressional District, which now includes western Henrico and western Chesterfield, as well as eastern Hanover County, Rep. Rob Wittman, the Republican incumbent, faces Democrat Herb Jones and independent conservative David Foster.

The 4th Congressional District includes eastern Henrico, eastern Chesterfield and the city of Richmond and stretches south to Brunswick and Greensville counties. Rep. Don McEachin, D-4th, faces Republican Leon Benjamin in a rematch of their 2020 contest.

Kentwood Heights Baptist Church polling location

Election signs are posted outside the polling location Kentwood Heights Baptist Church in Quinton on Tuesday morning. 

The 5th Congressional District now includes 13,400 voters in western Hanover County, as well as all of Louisa, Powhatan and Goochland counties in the Richmond area. Rep. Bob Good, R-5th, faces Democrat Josh Throneburg.

Henrico County is asking residents for approval to issue $511.4 million in bonds. In four yes-or-no questions, Henrico will ask voters to approve projects for schools; recreation and parks; fire station and public safety; and flood prevention and stormwater drainage.

Chesterfield County lumps its projects into one ballot question. County voters will decide whether to approve measures in a $540 million bond referendum.

The bonds would provide $375 million to the Chesterfield public school district and $165 million to the county government to fund projects for parks and recreation, the library system, fire stations and police precincts.

Chesterfield also will hold a special election to fill the unexpired term of former Midlothian District Supervisor Leslie Haley, who resigned to join the Virginia attorney general’s office. Voters will choose between Democrat Mark Miller and Republican Jennifer McNich. 

Read our previous stories on key races

The national picture 

Every U.S. House seat is up for election this year, along with about a third of the U.S. Senate. On the line is control of both houses of Congress, currently under Democratic leadership. 

Voters are also electing governors in most of the states this year. They'll be in office in 2024 when the next presidential election happens and could affect election laws or vote certifications.

Read more about other races across the country

Continuing coverage at richmond.com

We'll be updating richmond.com throughout the day with information about turnout and other details.

Watch our Election Day livestream from The Times-Dispatch newsroom starting at 7 p.m. We'll be talking about key races and what comes next. 

Have a question? Email us here.

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