Del Ray Heads to the Polls on Election Day
Voters come prepared to place ballots for national races, some surprised by local races on ballot.
7 p.m. update — The polls are now closed. To follow the results of the Alexandria elections for mayor, city council and school board, check out the Virginia State Board of Elections website.
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1:45 p.m. update — Old Town Alexandria Patch editor Sharon McLoone says the precincts are hopping in Old Town.
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Long lines in chilly temperatures were the norm Tuesday morning in the Del Ray area as voting opened at 6 a.m. for an historic election in Alexandria.
For the first time, local races for mayor, city council and school board shared the ballot with national races.
Voters came to the polls prepared to vote in the presidential and congressional elections and some were a little surprised to find a lengthy paper ballot with a backside filled with municipal elections.
“It’s totally split,” District A School Board candidate Stephanie Kapsis said around 10 a.m. outside the polling station at George Washington Middle School. “I’d say a third of the people come knowing about the local races but haven’t done their research. Another third come with their list of candidates and another third just did not know the local races are on the ballot.”
Kapsis said the long lines in the early morning (which dissipated closer to lunch time) gave her plenty of time to introduce herself to voters and answer their questions.
“I love when people want to get into the issues,” said Kapsis, who had about 25 volunteers helping her out at the polls on Tuesday.
Betsy and Charles Stephenson recently moved to Rosemont from just south of the city and said they didn’t know about the local races until they glanced at some sample ballots on their way into the polling station at Maury Elementary.
“We probably should have figured it out with all these signs everywhere,” Betsy Stephenson said. “We just moved up from just south in Fairfax County and we’re still trying to figure out where Alexandria city ends and begins.”
Both had no qualms with the paper ballots, calling the process “totally painless.”
“Paper is quicker,” Layton Lawlor wrote on the Del Ray Patch Facebook page. “With this year's crazy long ballot, the machines would have taken too long.”
Rosemont resident Jack Tomion, who referred to himself as a Democrat, said he came to Maury knowing about all the races on the ballot.
A member of a group of retirees called The Socrates Club that meets weekly at St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub to discuss current events, Tomion said the national elections have been the main topic of conversation for weeks—if not longer. There’s been just a little talk of the local elections at the club’s meetings, he said. Mainly, it’s been about President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney.
“Medicare is a big issue at the meetings,” Tomion said. “It keeps coming up all the time. Foreign policy, too. ...I think many of us feel this election is a total turning point in terms of the people of this country deciding what they want in their government.”
District B School Board candidates Kelly Carmichael Booz and Marc Williams were both shaking hands outside Maury in the late morning. They planned on making the rounds throughout the day in hopes of earning a few votes from voters unaware of the local races.
“It’s a beautiful day, which makes a huge difference,” Williams said.
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