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Turnout of 40% predicted
Elections board and city registrar agree on foreast

Sunday, November 3, 2013


The Virginia State Board of Elections estimates statewide voter turnout in Tuesday’s election will be no more than 40 percent.

That matches the prediction of Martinsville Registrar Cindy Barbour for the city. She said she based that on turnout of about 35 percent for previous gubernatorial elections.

“I like to be positive,” Barbour said, explaining why she put her prediction a little higher. She said, though, that she will be happy if turnout is in the 35 percent to 40 percent range.

Henry County Registrar Elizabeth Stone does not like to make predictions of voter turnout due to concern that they might discourage people from going to the polls.

Typically, gubernatorial elections have higher turnouts than only local elections. Yet turnout for gubernatorial elections typically is less than that of presidential elections.

When the current governor, Bob McDonnell, was elected in November 2009, turnout was 36.6 percent in Henry County and 36.3 percent Martinsville. Turnout for last November’s election, when President Barack Obama was re-elected, was roughly 69 percent in the county and 68 percent in the city, records show.

Overall, “we should have a good turnout, but not a high turnout” in the county on Tuesday, Stone said.

As in all other localities statewide, Henry County and Martinsville voters not only will select a new governor, but also a new lieutenant governor and state attorney general.

The gubernatorial candidates are Democrat Terry McAuliffe, Republican Ken Cuccinelli — the current attorney general — and Libertarian Robert Sarvis.

On Saturday, McAuliffe and Cuccinelli begged their supporters to knock on another door and make another phone call as their campaigns hit the final hours before the election.

McAuliffe supporters knocked on 125,000 doors Saturday morning, adding to the 1.6 million voter contacts they already had made. Altogether, 12,000 of his volunteers were in motion Saturday and his team was on track to knock on 2 million doors by Election Day.

“Sleep’s overrated,” McAuliffe quipped to his volunteers in Norfolk. “You don’t need it.”

Cuccinelli’s campaign declined to release its tally of door knocks or calls made, but it kept up get-out-the-vote efforts at offices throughout the state.

“Just because people agree with us doesn’t mean they’re going to vote,” Cuccinelli told volunteers at a campaign office near Richmond who were making phone calls for him. “This is what nagging is for.”

Two other state races will be decided on Tuesday.

Democrat Ralph Northam and Republican E.W. Jackson are running for lieutenant governor, and Democrat Mark Herring and Republican Mark Obenshain are running for attorney general.

Local races also will be decided.

Martinsville voters will select a commonwealth’s attorney from among the city’s four-term incumbent chief prosecutor, Joan Ziglar, and her challenger, Clay Gravely, a private practice lawyer who spent two years as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney under Ziglar.

Henry County voters technically will elect a new commonwealth’s attorney, but there is just one choice printed on the ballot — incumbent Andrew Nester, who took the post earlier this year after his predecessor, Bob Bushnell, was appointed a juvenile and domestic relations court judge.

County voters also will choose who they want to represent them in the Virginia House of Delegates, as well as on the Henry County Board of Supervisors and the Henry County School Board.

For the House, incumbent Republican 9th District Del. Charles Poindexter of Glade Hill is running unopposed.

County voting precincts in the 9th District are Bassett No. 2 (101), Gunville (102), Scott’s Tanyard (103), Horsepasture No. 1 (202), Spencer (204) and Bassett No. 1 (501).

Incumbent Republican Del. Danny Marshall of Danville is being challenged for the 14th District seat by Democrat Dr. Gary Miller, also of Danville, and Mary Martin of Henry County, who is running as an independent.

Precincts in the 14th District are Horsepasture No. 2 (203), Irisburg (303), Mt. Olivet (304), Fontaine (601), Hillcrest (602) Ridgeway No. 1 (603) and Ridgeway No. 2 (604).

In the 16th District, voters will choose from Democrat Elizabeth Jones and Republican Les Adams, both of Chatham. The winner will succeed Del. Don Merricks, R-Pittsylvania County, who did not seek re-election.

That district’s precincts include Fieldale (201), Horsepasture No. 2 (203), Axton (302), Mountain Valley (305), Collinsville No. 1 (401), Daniels Creek (402), Collinsville No. 2 (404), Mountain View (405), Figsboro (502), Stanleytown (503), Oak Level (504) and Dyers Store (505).

Precinct 203 is split between the 14th and 16th districts.

Martinsville is entirely within the 16th District. City voters also will choose between Jones and Adams.

Voters in the county’s Iriswood District have a choice of incumbent Milton Kendall or Patrick Favero Jr. for board of supervisors, and incumbent Curtis Millner Sr. is running unopposed for the district’s school board seat.

Precincts 302, 303, 304 and 305 are in the Iriswood District.

For the Collinsville District supervisors seat, incumbent Joe Bryant is being challenged by Randy Scott. Nobody filed for the district’s school board seat, but Dr. Merris Stambaugh is an announced candidate for the write-in election for that post.

The Collinsville District’s precincts are 401, 402, 404 and 405.

Incumbent Jim Adams is running unopposed for supervisor in the Blackberry District. Whichever school board candidate, Tom Auker or Michael Hooper, is elected will succeed board member Rudy Law, who did not seek re-election.

Precincts 101, 102 and 103 are in the Blackberry District.

In Martinsville, city Sheriff Steve Draper, Commissioner of the Revenue Ruth Easley and Treasurer Cindy Dickerson are unopposed in their re-election bids.

The same ballot will be used in all city voting precincts.

As of late last week, there were 35,373 registered voters in Henry County, down from 36,266 last November, and 8,849 people were registered to vote in Martinsville, down from 9,204, according to Stone and Barbour.

The decreases were due mainly to people moving away from the community and the Virginia State Board of Elections’ purging of names from registration rolls, officials said.

Recently, 350 people were purged from the rolls in Martinsville and Henry and Patrick counties because they also were registered in other states.

Barbour said that among voters who recently have visited the city registrar’s office, she has heard “some say they are tired of hearing the negative campaigns” put forward by some state candidates.

“They seem to be dissatisfied with both” the Democrat and Republican candidates running in state races, she said.

Polling places in both the county and city will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.


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