Alexandria, VA

With a week to go before the Nov. 3 election, more than 50% of registered Alexandria voters have cast their ballots.

At the close of business on October 26, the Alexandria Office of Voter Registrations and Elections reported 24,739 absentee ballots by mail and 27,150 in-person absentee ballots cast — totaling at 51,889 votes out of 103,000 registered voters in the city.

“In the 2016 election, we had a total of just over 20,000 voters vote in-person absentee, and by mail absentee,” Angie Maniglia Turner, the city’s general registrar and director of elections, told ALXnow. “We have not been working remotely, so it’s just been a lot of social distancing. The city’s been very supportive in making sure we have lots of space to get that social distancing to protect all our volunteers and staff.”

On the ballot for Nov. 3 is the race for president and vice president, a U.S. Senate and Congressional seat and two proposed Constitutional Amendments.

The city recently added three voting locations for in-person absentee voting, and the deadline to vote in-person absentee is 5 p.m. on October 31.

What To Expect On Election Day

Voters on November 3 should expect to find foot markers to encourage social distancing inside and outside polling precincts. Other changes include:

  • Polling officers will be separated from voters by plexiglass, and will not touch any identification
  • Voters will be required to wear face masks, and the Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps will be on-hand to make sure masks are worn properly. They will also have free masks
  • Voters who can’t go into a polling precinct can vote curbside
  • Ballots will be placed in one-time use manila folders

Door Knocking, Campaign Literature And Politics

The pandemic changed the game for Alexandria Democrats and Republicans in their outreach efforts. But both groups are still door knocking and dropping literature at homes around the city. There is one major difference, aside from politics, about election night plans: Democrats will have virtual election night watch parties, while Republicans are still planning on the traditional route of watching the returns inside a yet-to-be-chosen Alexandria restaurant.

“COVID kind of turned campaigning on its head,” Clarence Tong, chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee, told ALXnow. “We adapted to that with voter engagement on the phones, and canvassing, lit drops and mailers… There has never been more voter enthusiasm than this year, and I think a lot of it’s in response to Trump.”

Sean Lenehan, chair of the Alexandria GOP, said that there is a “silent majority” of Republican voters in Alexandria.

“I think a lot of people that are voting and supporting the president are just avoiding political conversations with their neighbors,” Lenehan said. “They want to keep things neighborly, but at the end of the day we’ll see the numbers come through.”

Alexandria has overwhelmingly voted for Democratic candidates for president for decades, including 76% for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and 70% for Barack Obama in 2012. Alexandria has also chosen a Democrat for the 8th Congressional District seat since former U.S. Rep. Jim Moran defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Stanford Parris in 1990.

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