Virginia residents flock to polls for first day of early voting

TAZEWELL, VA (WOAY) – Virginia voters head to the polls for the first day of early voting. 

Tazewell County voters are flocking to their one and only voting precinct for the start of early voting. This is the longest early voting period in the entire country, at 45 days long.

Brian Earls, the Director of Elections for Tazewell County, says it’s been quite the sight seeing all the voters out this early.

“A lot of eager voters here that were ready to get out. They were waiting on us to open the doors at 8 o’clock this morning. And we’ve had a steady flow throughout the morning, so folks are getting out early,” Earls said.

The presidential election isn’t the only thing voters are deciding on. Virginia is voting on adding some new amendments to their constitution, and local voters will be deciding what happens to a historic Confederate Statue. 

“All five of our towns here in Tazewell County are electing mayors and at least three council members. We have two constitutional amendments for the State of Virginia on our ballot. And here locally we have an advisory referendum county-wide to determine the fate of the Confederate Statue in front of our courthouse.”

One benefit of the lengthy early voting period is that voters will end up going to the precinct in smaller groups. This helps avoid large crowds when Election Day eventually comes. Another thing voters are doing to stay safe is absentee voting, which has proven to be very popular in Tazewell. 

“The vote by mail has been a big thing too . I think we’ve had around 1,500 vote by mail requests so far. And we still have a month and a half of that to go as well.”

Virginia residents can vote early until October 31. Then they’ll only have election Day to vote again in person. Absentee voters can send in their ballot at any time as long as it’s postmarked by Election Day. 

West Virginia residents won’t get the chance to vote early until October 21.