Poll worker Heath Wells hands out Republican sample ballots to Virginia voters.
While precincts across Northern Virginia had varied turnout, Alexandria's Durant Arts Center became a hive of activity Tuesday as Virginia voters bustled in and out of the recreation center in the early hours of the day.
"This is more people than I usually see in an off-cycle election," said poll worker Heath Wells.
A resident of Old Town Alexandria, Wells, 44, was the only Republican out of four poll workers handing out sample ballots in front of the recreation center. Many of the voters leaving the poll indicated that they voted Democratic this year. Alexandria is a historically liberal city, Wells said.
But at the Durant Center, voters expressed they were more passionate about voting against the Republican gubernatorial candidate than about supporting a fellow Democrat.
"It was more a vote against Ken Cuccinelli than it was a vote for Terry McAuliffe," said Alexandria resident Tim Slattery. "For me personally, Cuccinelli has been a nightmare for the state... but also he seemed very clueless about how Virginia's changing and what's important to Virginia.
Cuccinelli's strictly conservative stances on social issues such as women's health issues and personhood, as well as his affiliation to the Tea Party, has alienated him too many of the Alexandria voters.
Del Ray resident Andy Anderson said he voted for Libertarian Robert Sarvis just to keep Cuccinelli out of office.
"This is just another sad state of, 'I really didn't like either candidate,' " Anderson said. "I just really don't like Cuccinelli. I tossed it up with Sarvis just because, if anything, it'll take the vote away from Cuccinelli."
However, some of the voters have noticed that the Democratic campaign against Cuccinelli's conservative stances have made the election less about the candidates' stances on the issues than about their images.
"I've lived here for more than 20 years and I've never seen an election where there was so much negativity," Old Town Alexandria resident Chris Hill said. "It was not as issues-driven as I would have liked to see."