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Long Lines at Local Polling Stations

Residents in Huntington, Belle Haven, Fort Hunt and the surrounding neighborhoods headed to the polls and waited in long lines to vote.

Residents of the Greater Alexandria area headed to the polls early Tuesday morning. Though there was a slight chill in the air, some waited as long as two hours at some polling stations before work this morning.

"We've had a steady stream of people," said Susan Clay, an assistant chief election officer at West Potomac High School. "People are being quiet, and we have some patient voters and it's great to work with them."

Residents who were registered in the Huntington area waited as long as two hours to vote at the Fairhaven Community Center on Fort Drive. The line was around the block. Voters waited patiently bringing along books and e-readers, ipods and other electronics to pass the time.

Loraine Waniek said she arrived at the community center around 7 a.m. and waited two hours. However, she wanted to cast her vote in support of President Barack Obama and the to vote yes for the Stormwater Drainage Improvements Bond.

"For the presidential election, I wanted the continuation of the current administration, and I also live on Huntington and I wanted to vote for the bond to build the levee," Waniek said.

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Waniek said she thought in 2008, the line to vote moved a lot quicker and people were more eager and sure about who they would support.

"I think 2008 was quicker and I thought there was a bigger turnout," she said. "I felt like there was more momentum because people really wanted change and they wanted Obama, especially northern Virginia."

Many voters got to the poll stations early to beat the morning rush before heading to work for the day. Debbie Fairbanks, assistant chief election officer at Belle View Elementary School, said people were there earlier than the scheduled time.

"We had people in line at 5:20 this morning. We let them wait in the lobby here until we opened at 6, and it's been steady," Fairbanks said. "People know it's a long line and it's going to be a long line. We have someone greeting them at the door and I'm standing here assisting them in line."

Fairbanks has been an election officer at Belle View Elementary School for 13 years. She said compared to 2008, this election is just as busy for them.

"A lot of people turn out at this precinct. There are a lot of senior citizens because of the high rises, so it's always a good turn out," Fairbanks said.

By mid-morning the traffic at Belle View Elementary School slowed to "a trickle" according to election officers.

Chris Rigano, who voted at Belle View, said he has never missed an election no matter where he was located. Rigano was at the station around 8:30 a.m. to cast his vote.

"I'm ideologically a Democrat. I thought it was important to vote whether Democrat or Republican. It doesn't matter," Rigano said. "I think voters themselves are quite civil and amiable unlike the candidates, and if I had a third selection I probably would have been happier. Given what I had, I picked the best there was to offer. I voted a straight Democratic ticket."

Chris Tatum, chief election officer at Bryant High School, said they have had very long lines all morning, but they haven't had any major issues. Clay and Fairbanks said they both ran into minor issues this morning such as people at the wrong precinct or people with questions about ballots. However, there were no major problems during the voting process Tuesday morning.

T Ailshire November 06, 2012 at 07:44 PM
".....and if I had a third selection I probably would have been happier. Given what I had, I picked the best there was to offer. I voted a straight Democratic ticket." That type of comment scares me. There were FIVE choices for president. Clearly, that's more than two choices.

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