UPDATE (3/23 @ 10 p.m.): Republican Travis Hackworth won the state senate election with over 75% of the vote.
TAZEWELL, VA (WOAY) – Tazewell County residents are sharing their voices and getting out to vote.
A special state senate election is to be decided. On New Year’s Day, the late state senator Ben Chafin passed away from complications with COVID-19.
According to Tazewell County Director of Elections and General Registrar Brian Earls, residents have been slowly casting their votes for the past 45 days.
“We’ve been voting since February 5,” Earls said. “That was the first day for early voting and that ended on Saturday. So today, [March 23] all 20 of our polling precincts are open throughout the county.”
Despite having so long to vote, turnout was only at about 10% by 9:00 A.M. on Election Day. It’s because many people simply don’t take advantage of early voting and prefer casting their vote on Election Day itself.
According to Bluefield Town Council Member Charles Edward Presley Jr., this election is not a typical one and was expecting a lower turnout.
“I think this time of year, people aren’t used to this,” Presley said. “When you have an unfortunate issue like this happen, they try to rush out and get somebody into that seat, so it’s not a normal election.”
There are only two people on the ballot for this special election. Democrat Laurie Buchwald and Republican Travis Hackworth. Charles Presley Jr. says he’s friends with Hackworth, and hopes to see him come out on top.
“I’d like to see him win but I love it when people come out and express their opinion via vote.”
And this is not the last election to be held in Virginia in the first half of this year. Voters can expect to hear a lot about upcoming races, including ones for governor, state house and local municipalities.
Polls are open in Tazewell County for the special election from 6:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.